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The red house 

Alan Alexander 

a 3 4, </ <J ■ fc, 6- s 






"There is the satisfaction of knowing 
that wherever you may dip into this 
book you will be amused."— The 
Timet {London). 


"A very entertaining collection of 
whimsical essays which it is not ex- 
travagant to call excellent."— The 




Author of "Mr. Pbs Pawet Bffl 
JTbe Dover Road," etc 




Copyright 1923 


First printing March, 1928 

Second printing April, 1922 

Third printing April, 1922 

Fourth printing April, 1922 

Printti to the United Stales of America 

To John Vine Milne 

My dear Father, 

Like all really nice people, you hate 
a weakness for detective stories, and feel 
that there are not enough of them. So, after 
all that you hate done for me, the least that 
J can do for you is to write you one. Here 
it is: with more gratitude and affection than 
J can well put down htt. 

A. A. M. 



I. Mrs/Stevens is Frightened 1 
II. Mr. Gillingham Gets Out at the 

Wrong Station - - - - 12 

III. Two Men and a Body 25 

IV. The Brothbr from Australia - 37 
V. Mr. Gillingham Chooses a New 

Profession ----- SO 

VI. Outside or Inside? 62 

VII. Portrait of a Gentleman - - 73 

VIII. "Do You Follow Me, Watson?" - 84 

' IX. ^ Possibilities of a Croquet Set - 99 

X. Mr. Gillingham Talks Nonsbnsb - 113 

XL x Thb Rbverend Thbodorb Usshbr - 125 

XII. A Shadow on the Wall ... 137 

XIII. F The Open Window .... 148 

XIV. Mr. Bbvbrlbt Qualifies for thb 

Stags 160 

XV. Mrs. Norburt Confidbs in Dbar 

Mr. Gillingham - - - - 172 

XVI. Getting Rbadt for thb Night - 185 

XVII. Mr. Beverley Takes the Water - 199 

XVIII. Guess-Work 218 

XIX. TheJInquest 229 

XX. Mr. Beverley is Tactful - - 243 

XXI. Caylby's Apology .... 252 

XXII. Mr, Bbverlby Moves Om - 268 





IN the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon tb* 
Red House was taking its siesta. There was a 
lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle 
cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From 
distant lawns came the whir of a mowing-machine, 
that most restful of all country sounds ; making ease 
the sweeter in that it is taken while others are 

It was the hour when even those whose business 
it is to attend to the wants of others have a moment 
or two for themselves. In the housekeeper's room 
Audrey Stevens, the pretty parlourmaid, re-trimmed 
her best hat, and talked idly to her aunt, the cook- 
housekeeper of Mr. Mark Abletfs bachelor home. 

"For Joe?" said Mrs. Stevens placidly, her eye 
on the hat 

Audrey nodded. She took a pin from her mouth, 
found a place in the hat for it, and said, "He likes 
a bit of pink." 


"I don't say I mind a bit of pink myself," said 
her aunt. "Joe Turner isn't the only one." 

"It isn't everybody's colour," said Audrey, hold- 
ing tho hat out at arm's-length, and regarding it 
thoughtfully. "Stylish, isn't it?" 

"Oh, it'll suit you all right, and it would have 
suited me at your age. A bit too dressy for me now, 
though wearing better than some other people, I 
daresay. I was never the one to pretend to be what 
I wasn't. If I'm fifty-five, I'm fifty-five— that's 
what I say." 

"Fifty-eight, isn't it, auntie?" 

"I was just giving that as an example," said Mrs. 
Stevens with great dignity. 

Audrey threaded a needle, held her hand out, and 
looked at her nails critically for a moment, and then 
began to sew. 

"Funny thing that about Mr. Mark's brother. 
Fancy not seeing your brother for fifteen years." 
She gave a self-conscious laugh and went on, "Won- 
der what I should do if I didn't see Joe for fifteen 

"As I told you all this morning," said her aunt, 
"I've been here five years, and never heard of a 
brother. I could say that before everybody if I was 
going to die to-morrow. There's been no brother 
here while I've been here." 

"You could have knocked me down with a feather 
when he spoke about him at breakfast this morning. 
I didn't hear what went before, naturally, but they 


wu all talking about the brother when I went in— ■ 
sow what was it I went in for — hot milk, was it, 
er toast? — well, they was all talking, and Mr. Mark 
tarns to me, and says — you know his way — 'Stevens,' 
he says, 'my brother is coming to see me this after- 
noon; I'm expecting him about three,' he says. 
'Show him into the office,' he says, just like that 
'Yes, sir,' I says quite quietly, but I was never so 
surprised in my life, not knowing he had a brother. 
*My brother from Australia,' he says — there, I'd 
forgotten that. From Australia." 

"Well, he may have been in Australia," said Mrs. 
Stevens, judicially ; "I can't say for that, not know- 
ing the country; but what I do say is he's never been 
here. Not while I've been here, and that's five 

''Well, but, auntie, he hasn't been here for fifteen 
years. I heard Mr. Mark telling Mr. Cayley. Tif- 
teen years,' he says. Mr. Cayley having arst him 
when his brother was last in England. Mr. Cayley 
knew of him, I heard him telling Mr. Beverley, but 
didn't know when he was last in England — see f So 
that's why he arst Mr. Mark." 

"I'm not saying anything about fifteen years, 
Audrey. I can only speak for what I know, and 
that's five years Whitsuntide. I can take my oath 
he's not set foot in the house since five years Whit- 
suntide. And if he's been in Australia, as you say, 
well, I daresay he's had his reasons." 

"What reasons?" said Audrey lightly. 


"Uever mind what reasons. Being in the place 
of a mother to yon, since your poor mother died, I 
say this, Audrey — when a gentleman goes to Aus- 
tralia, he has his reasons. And when he stays in 
Australia fifteen years, as Mr. Mark says, and as I 
know for myself for five years, he has his reasons. 
And a respectably brought-up girl doesn't ask what 

"Got into trouble, I suppose," said Audrey care- 
lessly. "They were saying at breakfast he'd been a 
wild one. Debts. I'm glad Joe isn't like that He's 
got fifteen pounds in the post-office sayings' bank. 
Did I tell you!" 

But there was not to be any more talk of Joe 
Turner that afternoon. The ringing of a bell 
brought Audrey to her feet — no longer Audrey, but 
now Stevens. She arranged her cap in front of 
the glass. 

"There, thaf s the front door," she said. "Thaf s 
him. 'Show him into the office,' said Mr. Mark. I 
suppose he doesn't want the other ladies and gentle- 
men to see him. Well, they're all out at their golf, 
anyhow — Wonder if he's going to stay — P'raps he's 
brought back a lot of gold from Australia — I might 
hear something about Australia, because if anybody 
can get gold there, then I don't say but what Joe 
and I » 

"Now, now, get on, Audrey." 

"Just going, darling." 

She went out, 


To anyone who had just walked down the drive in 
the August sun, the open door oi the Bed House 
revealed a delightfully inviting hall, of which even 
the mere sight was cooling. It was a big low-roofed, 
oat-beamed place, with cream-washed walls and 
dlamond-paned windows, blue-curtained. On the 
right and left were doors leading into other living- 
rooms, hnt on the side which faced yon as yon came 
in were windows again, looking on to a small grass 
court, and from open windows to open windows such 
air as there was played gently. The staircase went 
up in broad, low steps along the right-hand wall, and, 
turning to the left, led yon along a gallery, which 
ran across the width of the hall, to your bedroom. 
Tbat is, if yon were going to stay the night Mr. 
Robert Ablett'i intentions in this matter were as yet 

As Audrey came across the hall she gave a little 
start as she saw Mr. Cayley suddenly, sitting un- 
obtrusively in a seat beneath one of the front win- 
dows, reading. No reason why he shouldn't be 
there; certainly a much cooler place than the golf- 
links on such a day; but somehow there was a de- 
serted air about the house that afternoon, as if all 
the guests were outside, or — perhaps the wisest place 
of all—up in their bedrooms, sleeping. Mr. Cayley, 
the master's oousin, was a surprise; and, having 
given a little exclamation as she came suddenly upon 
him, she blushed, and said, "Oh, I beg your pardon, 
air, I didn't see you at first/' and he looked up from 


his book and smiled at her. An attractive smile it 
was on that big ugly face. "Such a gentleman, Mr. 
Cayley," she thought to herself as she went on, and 
wondered what the master would do without him. 
If this brother, for instance, had to be bundled back 
to Australia, it was Mr. Cayley who would do most 
of the bundling. 

"So this is Mr. Hobert," said Audrey to herself, 
as she came in sight of the visitor. 

She told her aunt afterwards that she would have 
known him anywhere for Mr. Mark's brother, but 
she would have said that in any event. Actually 
she was surprised. Dapper little Mark, with 
his neat pointed beard and his carefully-curled 
moustache; with his quick-darting eyes, always 
moving from one to the other of any company 
he was in, to register one more smile to his 
credit when he had said a good thing, one more 
expectant look when he was only waiting his turn 
to say it; he was a very different man from this 
rough-looking, ill-dressed colonial, staring at her so 

"I want to see Mr. Mark Ablett," he growled. It 
sounded almost like a threat. 

Audrey recovered herself and smiled reassuringly 
at him. She had a smile for everybody. 

"Yes, sir. He is expecting you, if you will come 
this way." 

"Oh! So you know who I am, ehf 

"Mr. Eobert Ablett?" 


-VAy, that's right So he's expecting me, eh! 
KeTl be glad to see me, eh?" 

*'cf you will come this way, sir," said Audrey 

She went to the second door on the left, and 
opened it 

"Mr. Kobort Ab — ■ — " she began, and then broke 
off. The room was empty. She turned to the man 
behind her. "If you will sit down, sir, I will find 
the master. I know he's in, because he told me that 
you were coming this afternoon." 

"Oh I" He looked round the room. "What d'you 
call this place, eh}" 

"The office, sir." 

"The office?" 

"Tho room where the master works, sir." 

"Works, eh? That's new. Didn't know he'd evor 
done a stroke of work in his life." 

"Where he writes, sir," said Audrey, with dignity. 
The fact that Mr. Mark "wrote," though nobody 
knew what, was a matter of pride in the house- 
keeper's room. 

"Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room, 

"I will tell the master you are here, sir," said 
Audrey decisively. 

She closed the door and left him there. 

Well! Here was something to tell auntie! Her 
mind was busy at once, going over all the things 
which he had said to her and she had said to him — 


quiet-like. "Directly I saw him 1 said to my- 
self " Why, you eould have knocked her over 

with a feather. Feathers, indeed, were a perpetual 
menace to Audrey. 

However, the immediate business was to find the 
master. She walked across the hall to the library, 
glanced in, came back a little uncertainly, and stood 
in front of Cayley. 

"If you please, sir," she said in a low, respectful 
voice, "can you tell me where the master is! It's 
Mr. Robert called." 

"What?" said Cayloy, looking up from bis book 

Audrey repeated her question. 

"I don't know. Isn't he in the office? He went 
up to the Temple after lunch. I don't think I've 
seen him sinco." 

"Thank you, sir. I will go up to the Temple." 

Cayley returned to his book 

The "Temple" was a brick summer-house, in the 
gardens at the back of the house, about three hun- 
dred yards away. Here Mark meditated sometimes 
before retiring to the "office" to put his thoughts 
upon paper. The thoughts were not of any great 
value; moreover, they were given off at the dinner- 
table more often than they got on to paper, and got 
on to paper more often than they got into print. 
But that did not prevent the master of the Bed 
House from being a little pained when a visitor 
treated the Temple carelessly, as if it had been 


erected for the ordinary purposes of flirtation and 
cigarette-smoking. There had been an occasion when 
two of his guests had been found playing fires in it. 
Mark had said nothing at the time, Bare to ask — with 
a little less than his usual point — whether they 
couldn't find anywhere else for their game, but the 
offenders were never asked to the Red House again. 

Audrey walked slowly up to the Temple, looked 
in and walked slowly back All that walk for noth- 
ing. Perhaps the master was upstairs in his room. 
"Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room." 
Well, now, Auntie, would you like anyone in your 
drawing-room with a red handkerchief round his 
neck and great big dusty boots, and — listen ! One 
of the men shooting rabbits. Auntie was partial to 
a nice rabbit and onion sauce. How hot it was ; she 
wouldn't say no to a cup of tea. Well, one thing, 
Mr. Robert wasn't staying the night; he hadn't any 
luggage. Of course Mr. Mark could lend him 
things; he had clothes enough for six. She would 
have known him anywhere for Mr. Mark's brother. 

She came into the house. As she passed the house- 
keeper's room on her way to the hall, the door opened 
suddenly, and a rather frightened face looked out 

"Hallo, Aud," said Elsie. "It's Audrey," she 
said, turning into the room. 

"Come I*, Audrey," called Mrs. Stevens. 

"Whaf s up ?" said Audrey, looking in at the door. 

"Oh, my dear, yon gave me such a turn. Where 
have you been V 


"Up to the Temple." 

"Did you hear anything V* 

"Hear what?" 

"BangB and explosions and terrible things." 

"Oh," said Audrey, rather relieved. "One of the 
men shooting rabbits. Why, I said to myself as I 
came along, 'Auntie's partial to a nice rabbit,' I said, 
and I shouldn't be surprised if " 

"Babbits !" said her aunt scornfully. "It wae 
inside the house, my girl." 

"Straight it was," said Elsie. She was one of the 
housemaids. "I said to Mrs. Stevens — didn't I, Mrs. 
Stevens? — 'That was in the house,' I said." 

Audrey looked at her aunt and then at Elsie. 

"Do you think he had a revolver with him ?" she 
said in a hushed voice. 

"Who?" said Elsie excitedly. 

"That brother of his. From Australia. I said as 
soon as I set eyes on him, 'You're a bad lot, my 
man!' That's what I said, Elsie. Even before he 
spoke to me. Kudel" She turned to her aunt 
"Well, I give you my word." 

"If you remember, Audrey, I always said there 
was no saying with anyone from Australia." Mrs. 
Stevens lay back in her chair, breathing rather 
rapidly. "I wouldn't go out of this room now, not if 
you paid me a hundred thousand pounds." 

"Oh, Mrs. Stevens !" said Elsie, who badly wanted 
five shillings for a new pair of shoes, "I wouldn't 
go as far as that, not myself, but " 


"There I" cried Mrs. Stevens, sitting up •with a 

They listened anxiously, the two girls instinctively 
coming closer to the older woman's chair. 

A door was being shaken, kicked, rattled. 


Audrey and Elsie looked at each other with fright* 
ened eyes. 

They heard a man's voice, loud, angry. 

"Open the door!" it was shouting. "Open the 
door! I say, open the door!" 

"Don't open the door!" cried Mrs. Stevens in a 
panic, as if it was her door which was threatened. 
"Audrey! Elsie! Don't let him in!" 

"Damn it, open the door," came the voice again. 

"We're all going to be murdered in our beds," she 
quavered. Terrified, the two girls huddled closer, 
and with an arm round each, Mrs. Stevens sat there, 



WHETHER Mark Ablett was a bore or not 
depended on the point of view, but it may be 
said at onoe that lie never bored bis company on the 
subject of his early life. However, stories get about. 
There is always somebody who knows. It was under- 
stood — and this, anyhow, on Mark's own authority — 
that his father had been a country clergyman. It 
was said that, as a boy, Mark had attracted the 
notice, and patronage, of some rich old spinster of 
the neighbourhood, who had paid for his education, 
both at school and university. At about the time 
when he was coming down from Cambridge, his 
father had died ; leaving behind him a few debts, as 
a warning to his family, and a reputation for short 
sermons, as an example to his successor. Neither 
warning nor example seems to have been effective. 
Mark went to London, with an allowance from his 
patron, and (it is generally agreed) made acquaint- 
ance with the money-lenders. He was supposed, by 
his patron and any others who inquired, to be "writ- 
ing"; bat what he wrote, other than letters asking 



for more time to pay, has never been discovered. 
However, he attended the theatres and music halls 
very regularly — no doubt with a view to some serious 
articles in the "Spectator" on the decadence of the 
English stage. 

Fortunately (from Mark's point of view) his pa- 
tron died during his third year in London, and left him 
all the money he wanted. From that moment his life 
loses its legendary character, and becomes more a 
matter of history. He settled accounts with the 
money-lenders, abandoned his crop of wild oats to 
the harvesting of others, and became in his torn a 
patron. He patronized the Arts. It was not only 
usurers who discovered that Mark Ablett no longer 
wrote for money; editors were now offered free con- 
tributions as well as free lunches; publishers were 
given agreements for an occasional slender volume, 
in which the author paid all expenses and waived all 
royalties ; promising young painters and poets dined 
with him ; and he even took a theatrical company on 
tour, playing host and "lead" with equal lavishness. 

He was not what most people call a snob. A snob 
has been defined carelessly as a man who loves a 
lord; and, more carefully, as a mean lover of mean 
things — which would be a little unkind to the peer- 
age if the first definition were true. Mark had his 
vanities undoubtedly, but he would sooner have met 
an actor-manager than an earl ; he would have spoken 
of his friendship with Dante — had that been possible 
>— more glibly than of his friendship with the Duke. 


Call him a snob if you like, mit not the worst kind 
of snob; a hanger-on, but to the skirts of Art, not 
Society; a climber, but in the neighborhood of Par- 
nassus, not of Hay Hill. 

His patronage did not stop at the Arts. It also 
included Matthew Cayley, a small cousin of thirteen, 
whose circumstances were as limited as had been 
Mark's own before his patron had rescued him. He 
sent the Cayley cousin to school and Cambridge. 
His motives, no doubt, were unworldly enough at 
first; a mere repaying to his account in the Record- 
ing Angel's book of the generosity which had been 
lavished on himself; a laying-up of treasure in 
heaven. But it is probable that, as the boy grew up, 
Mark's designs for his future were based on his own 
interests as much as those of his cousin, and that a 
suitably educated Matthew Cayley of twenty-three 
was felt by him to be a useful property for a man 
in his position ; a man, that is to say, whose vanities 
left him bo little time for his affairs. 
^ Cayley, then, at twenty-three, looked after his 
cousin's affairs. By this time Mark had bought the 
Bed House and the considerable amount of land 
which went with it. Cayley superintended the neces- 
sary staff. His duties, indeed, were many. He was 
not quite secretary, not quite land-agent, not quite 
business-adviser, not quite companion, but something 
of all four. Mark leant upon him and called him 
"Cay," objecting quite rightly in the circumstances 
to the name of Matthew. Cay, he felt was, above 


all, dependable; a big, heavy-jawed, solid fellow, 
who didn't bother you with unnecessary talk — a 
boon to a man who liked to do most of the talking 

Cayley was now twenty-eight, but had all the ap- 
pearance of forty, which was his patron's age. Spas- 
modically they entertained a good deal at the Bed 
House, and Mark's preference — call it kindliness or 
vanity, as you please — was for guests who were not 
in a position to repay his hospitality. Let us have 
a look at them as they came down to that breakfast, 
of which Stevens, the parlourmaid, has already given 
us a glimpse. 

The first to appear was Major Kumbold, a tall, 
grey-haired, grey-moustached, silent man, wearing a 
Norfolk coat and grey flannel trousers, who lived on 
his retired pay and wrote natural history articles for 
the papers. He inspected the dishes on the side- 
table, decided carefully on kedgeree, and got to work 
on it. He had passed on to a sausage by the time 
of the next arrival. This was Bill Beverley, a cheer- 
ful young man in white flannel trousers and a blazer. 

"Hallo, Major," he said as he came in, "how's the 

"It isn't gout," said the Major gruffly. 

"Well, whatever it is." 

The Major grunted. 

"I make a point of being polite at breakfast," said 
Bill, helping himself largely to porridge. "Most 
people are so rude. That's why I asked you. But 


don't tell me if it's a secret Coffee?" lie added, at 
lie poured himself out a cup. 

"No, thanks. I never drink till I've finished eaV 

"Quite right, Major; it's only manners." He sat 
down opposite to the other. "Well, we've got a good 
day for our game. It's going to be dashed hot, but 
that's where Betty and I score. On the fifth green, 
your old wound, the one you got in that frontier 
skirmish in '43, will begin to trouble you; on the 
eighth, your liver, undermined by years of curry, 
will drop to pieces; on the twelfth " 

"Oh, shut up, you ass!" 

"Well, I'm only warning you. Hallo ; good morn- 
ing, Miss Norris. I was just telling the Major what 
was going to happen to you and him this morning. 
Do you want any assistance, or do you prefer choos- 
ing your own breakfast?" 

"Please don't get up," said Miss Norris. "I'll 
help myself. Good morning, Major." She smiled 
pleasantly at him. 

The Major nodded. 

"Good morning. Going to be hot" 

"Aa I was telling him," began Bill, "thafs 
where Hallo, here's Betty. Morning, Cayley." 

Betty Calladine and Cayley had come in together. 
Betty was the eighteen-year-old daughter of Mrs. 
John Calladine, widow of the painter, who was act- 
ing hostess on this occasion for Mark. Buth Norris 
took herself seriously as am actress and, on her holi- 


days, seriously as a golfer. She was auite competent 
as either. Neither the Stags Society nor Sandwich 
had any terrors for her. 

"By the way, the car will he round at 10.30," said 
Cayley, looking up from his letters. "You're lunch- 
ing there, and driving back directly afterwards. 
Isn't that right?" 

"I don't see why we shouldn't have two rounds," 
said Bill hopefully. 

"Muck too hot in the afternoon," said the Major. 
"Get hack comfortably for tea." 

Mark came in. He was generally the last. He 
greeted them and sat down to toast and tea. Break- 
fast was not his meal. The others chattered gently 
while he read his letters. 

"Good God !" said Mark suddenly. 

There was an instinctive turning of heads towards 

"I beg your pardon, Miss Morris. Sorry, Betty." 

Miss Norris smiled her forgiveness. She often 
wanted to say it herself, particularly at rehearsals. 

"I say, Cay!" He was frowning to himself — 
annoyed, puzzled. He held up a letter and shook it. 
"Who do you think this is from ?" 

Cayley, at the other end of the table, shrugged hi* 
shoulders. How could he possibly guess f 

"Eobert," said Mark. 

"Kobertf" It was difficult to surprise Cayley. 

"Ifs all very well to say 'Well?' like that," said 


Mark peevishly. "He's coming here this afternoon.** 

"I thought he was in Australia, or somewhere." 

"Of course. So did I." He looked across at 
Rumbold. "Got any brothers, Major I" 


"Well, take my advice, and don't have any." 

"Not likely to now," said the Major. 

Bill laughed. Miss Norris said politely: "But 
you haven't any brothers, Mr. Ablett?" 

"One," said Mark grimly. "If you're back in 
time you'll see him this afternoon. He'll probably 
ask you to lend him five pounds. Don't." 

Everybody felt a little uncomfortable. 

"I've got a brother," said Bill helpfully, "but I 
always borrow from him." 

"Like Robert," said Mark. 

"When was he in England last?" asked Cayley. 

"About fifteen years ago, wasn't it I You'd have 
been a boy, of course." 

"Yes, I remember seeing him once about then, but 
I didn't know if he had been back since." 

""No. Not to my knowledge." Mark, still ob- 
viously upset, returned to his letter. 

"Personally," said Bill, "I think relations are a 
great mistake." 

"All the same," said Betty a little daringly, "it 
must be rather fun having a skeleton in the cup- 

Mark looked up, frowning. 

"If you think itf s fun, I'll hand him over to yon, 


Betty. If he's anything like he used to be, and like 
his few letters hare been — well, Cay knows." 

Cayley grunted. 

"All I knew was that one didn't ask questions 
about him." 

It may have been meant as a hint to any too 
curious guest not to ask more questions, or a re- 
minder to his host not to talk too freely in front of 
strangers, although he gave it the sound of a mere 
statement of fact. But the subject dropped, to be 
succeeded by the more fascinating one of the coming 
foursome. Mrs. Calladine was driving over with the 
players in order to lunch with an old friend who 
lived near the links, and Mark and Cayley were re- 
maining at home — on affairs. Apparently "affairs" 
were now to include a prodigal brother. But that 
need not make the foursome less enjoyable. 

At about the time when the Major (for whatever 
reasons) was fluffing his tee-shot at the sixteenth, and 
Mark and his cousin were at their business at the 
Bed House, an attractive gentleman of the name of 
Antony Gillingham was handing up his ticket at 
Woodham station and asking the way to the village. 
Having received directions, he left his bag with the 
station-master and walked off leisurely. He is an 
important person to this story, so that it is as well 
we should know something about him before letting 
him loose in it Let us stop him at the top of the 
hill on some excuse, and have a good look at him. 


The first thing we realize is that he is doing more 
of the looking than we are. Above a clean-cut, clean- 
shaven face, of the type usually associated with the 
Nary, he carries a pair of grey eyes which seem to 
be absorbing every detail of our person. To strang- 
ers this look is almost alarming at first, until they 
disco*«r that his mind is very often elsewhere; that 
' he has, so to speak, left his eyes on guard, while he 
himself follows a train of thought in another direc- 
tion. Many people do this, of course; when, for 
instance, they are talking to one person and trying 
to listen to another; but their eyes betray them. 
Antony's never did. 

He had seen a good deal of the world with those 
eyes, though never as a sailor. When at the age of 
twenty-one he came into hig mother's money, £400 
a year, old Gillingham looked up from the "Stock- 
breeders' Gazette" to ask him what he was going 
to do. 

"See the world," said Antony. 

"Well, send me a line from America, or wherever 
you get to." 

"Eight," said Antony. 

Old Gillingham returned to his paper. Antony 
was a younger son, and, on the whole, not so in- 
teresting to his father as the cadets of certain other 
families; Champion Birket's, for instance. But, 
then, Champion Birket was the best Hereford bull 
he had ever bred. 

Antony, however had no intention of going fur- 


ther away than London. His idea of seeing the 
world was to see, not countries, but people; and to 
see them from as many angles as possible. There 
are all sorts in London if yon know how to look at 
them. So Antony looked at them — from various 
strange corners; from the view-point of the valet, 
the newspaper-reporter, the waiter, the shop-assistant. 
With the independence of £400 a year behind him, 
he enjoyed it immensely. He never stayed long in 
one job, and generally closed his connexion with it 
by telling his employer (contrary to all etiquette as 
understood between master and servant) exactly what 
he thought of him. He had no difficulty in finding 
a new profession. Instead of experience and testi- 
monials he offered his personality and a sporting bet. 
He would take no wages the first month, and — if he 
satisfied his employer — double wages the second. He 
always got his double wages. 

He was now thirty. He had come to Woodham 
for a holiday, because he liked the look of the station. 
His ticket entitled him to travel further, but he had 
always intended to please himself in the matter. 
Woodham attracted him, and he had a suit-case in 
the carriage with him and money in his pocket Why 
not get out? 

The landlady of the "George" was only too glad 
to put him up, and promised that her husband would 
drive over that afternoon for his luggage. 

'And you would like some lunch, I expect, 



"Yes, but don't give yourself any trouble about it 
Cold anything-you've-got." 

"What about beef, sir?" she asked, as if she had 
a hundred varieties of meat to select from, and was 
offering him her best. 

"That will do splendidly. And a pint of beer." 

While he was finishing his lunch, the landlord 
came in to ask about the luggage. Antony ordered 
another pint, and soon had him talking. 

"It must be rather fun to keep a country inn," 
he said, thinking that it was about time he started 
another profession 

"I don't know about fun, sir. It gives us a living, 
and a bit over." 

/ "You ought to take a holiday," said Antony, look- 
ing at him thoughtfully. 

"Funny thing your saying that," said the land- 
lord, with a smile. "Another gentleman, over from 
the Eed House, was saying that on'y yesterday. 
Offered to take my place an all." He laughed 

"The Red House! Not the Red House, Stanton ?" 

"That's right, sir. Stanton's the next station to 
Woodham. The Red House is about a mile from 
here— Mr. Ablett's." 

Antony took a letter from his pocket. It was 
addressed from "The Red House, Stanton," and 
signed "Bill." 

"Good old Bill," he murmured to himself. "He's 
getting on." 


ABtony had met Bill Beverley two years before in 
a tobacconist's shop. Gillingham was on one side of 
the counter and Mr. Beverley on the other. Some- 
thing about Bill, his youth and freshness, perhaps, 
attracted Antony; and when cigarettes had been or- 
dered, and an address given to which they were to 
be sent, he remembered that he had come across an 
aunt of Beverley's once at a country-house. Beverley 
and he met again a little later at a restaurant. Both 
of them were in evening-dress, but they did different 
things with their napkins, and Antony was the more 
polite of the two. However, he still liked Bill. So 
on one of his holidays, when he was unemployed, he 
arranged an introduction through a mutual friend. 
Beverley was a little inclined to be shocked when he 
was reminded of their previous meetings, but his 
uncomfortable feeling soon wore off, and he and 
Antony quickly became intimate. But Bill gen- 
erally addressed him as "Dear Madman" when he 
happened to write. 

Antony decided to stroll over to the Bed House 
after lunch and call upon his friend. Having in- 
spected his bedroom, which was not quite the laven- 
der-smelling country-inn bedroom of fiction, but 
sufficiently clean and comfortable, he set out over 
the fields. 

As he came down the drive and approached the 
old red-brick front of the house, there was a lazy 
murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle cooing 
of pigeons in the tops of the elms, and from distant 


lawns the whir of a mowing-machine, that most rest- 
ful of all country sounds. . . . 

And in the hall a man was banging at a locked 
door, and shouting, "Open the door, I say; open the 

"Hallo I" said Antony in amazement. 



CAYLEY looked round suddenly at the voice. 
"Can I help?" said Antony politely. 

"Something's happened," said Cayley. He was 
breathing quickly. "I heard a shot — it sounded like 
a shot — I was in the library. A loud bang — I didn't 
know what it was. And the door's locked." He 
rattled the handle again, and shook it. "Open the 
door!" he cried. "I say, Mark, what is it? Open 
the door!" 

"But he must have locked the door on purpose," 
said Antony. "So why ahould he open it just be- 
cause you ask him to?" 

Cayley looked at him in a bewildered way. Then 
he turned to the door again. "We must break it in," 
he said, putting his shoulder to it "Help me." 

"Isn't there a window?" 

Caylfly turned to him stupidly. 

"Window? Window?" 

"So much easier to break in a window," said 
Antony with a smile. He looked very cool and 
collected, as he stood just inside the hall, leaning on 



his stick, and thinking, no doubt, that a great deal 
of fuss was being made about nothing. But then, 
he had not heard the shot. 

"Window — of course! What an idiot I am." 

He pushed past Antony, and began running out 
into the drive. Antony followed him. They ran 
along the front of the house, down a path to the left, 
and then to the left again over the grass, Cayley in 
front, the other close behind him. Suddenly Cayley 
looked over his shoulder and pulled up short. 

"Here," he said. 

They had come to the windows of the locked room, 
French windows which opened on to the lawns at the 
back of the house. But now they were closed. An- 
tony couldn't help feeling a thrill of excitement as 
he followed Cayley's example, and put his face close 
up to the glass. For the first time he wondered if 
there really had been a revolver shot in this mys- 
terious room. It had all seemed so absurd and 
melodramatic from the other side of the door. But 
if there had been one shot, why should there not be 
two more? — at the careless fools who were pressing 
their noses against the panes, and asking for it. 

"My God, can you see it?" said Cayley in a 
shaking voice. "Down there. Look!" 

The next moment Antony saw it. A man was 
lying on the floor at the far end of the room, bis 
back towards them. A man ? Or the body of a man ? 

"Who is it?" said Antony. 

"I don't know," the other whispered. 


"Well, we'd better go and see." He considered 
the windows for a moment. "I should think, if you 
put your weight into it, just where they join, 
they'll give all right. Otherwise, we can kick the 
glass in." 

Without saying anything, Cayley put his weight 
into it. The window gave, and they went into the 
room. Cayley walked quickly to the body, and 
dropped on his knees by it. For the moment he 
seemed to hesitate ; then with an effort he put a hand 
on to its shoulder and pulled it over. 

"Thank Godl" he murmured, and let the body 
go again. 

"Who is it?" said Antony. 

"Eobert Ablett" 

"Oh I" said Antony. "I thought his name was 
Mark," he added, more to himself than to the other. 

"Yes, Mark Ablett lives here. Kobert is his 
brother." He shuddered, and said, "I was afraid 
it was Mark." 

"Was Mark in the room too?" 

"Yes," said Cayley absently. Then, as if resent- 
ing suddenly these questions from a stranger, "Who 
are you?" 

But Antony had gone to the locked door, and was 
turning the handle. "I suppose he put the key in 
his pocket," he said, as he came back to the body 


Antony shrugged his shoulders. 


"Whoever did this," he said, pointing to the man 
on ihe floor. 'Is he dead!" 

"Help me," said Cayley simply. 

They turned the hody on to its back, nerving them- 
selves to look at it. Kobert Ablett had been shot 
between the eyes. It was not a pleasant sight, and 
with his horror Antony felt a sudden pity for the 
man beside him, and a sudden remorse for the care- 
less, easy way in which he had treated the affair. 
But then one always went about imagining that these 
things didn't happen — except to other people. It 
was difficult to believe in them just at first, when 
they happened to yourself. 

"Did you know him well?" said Antony quietly. 
He meant, "Were you fond of him?" 

"Hardly at all. Mark is my cousin. I mean, 
Mark is the brother I know best." 

"Your cousin?" 

"Yes." He hesitated, and then said, "Is he dead ? 
I suppose he is. Will you — do you know anything 
about — about that sort of thing ? Perhaps I'd better 
get some water." 

There was another door opposite to the locked one, 
which led, as Antony was to discover for himself 
directly, into a passage from which opened two more 
rooms. Cayley stepped into the passage, and opened 
the door on the right. The door from the office, 
through which he had gone, remained open. The 
door at the end of the short passage was shut. An- 
tony, kneeling by the body, followed Cayley with his 


eyes, and, after he had disappeared, kept bis eyes on 
the blank wall of the passage, but he was mot con- 
scious of that at which he was looking, for his mind 
was with the other man, sympathizing with him. 

"Not that water is «ny use to a dead body," he 
slid to himself, "but the feeling that you're doing 
something, when there's obviously nothing to be done, 
is a great comfort." 

Cayley came into the room again. He had a 
sponge in one hand, a handkerchief in the other. 
He looked at Antony. Antony nodded. Cayley 
murmured something, and knelt down to bathe the 
dead man's face. Then he placed the handkerchief 
over it A little sigh escaped Antony, a sigh of 

They stood up and looked at each other. 

"If I can be of any help to you," said Antony, 
"please let me." 

"That's very kind of you. There will be things 
to do. Police, doctors — I don't know. But you 
mustn't let me trespass on your kindness. Indeed, 
I should apologise for having trespassed so much 

"I came to see "Beverley. He is an old friend of 

"He's out playing golf. He will be back directly." 
Then, as if he had only just realized it, "They will 
all be back directly." 

"I will stay if I can be of any help." 

"Please do. You see, there are women. It will 


be rather painful If you would w He hesi- 
tated, and gave Antony a timid little smile, pathetic 
in so big and self-reliant a man. "Just your moral 
support, you know. It would be something." 

"Of course." Antony smiled back at nim, and 
said cheerfully, "Well, then, I'll begin by suggesting 
that you Bhould ring up the police." 

"The police? Y— yes." He looked doubtfully at 
the other. "I suppose " 

Antony spoke frankly. 

"Now, look here, Mr. — er- 

'Cayley. I'm Mark Ablett's cousin. I live with 

"My name's Gillingham. I'm sorry, I ought to 
have told you before. Well now, Mr. Cayley, we 
shan't do any good by pretending. Here's a man 
been shot — well, somebody shot him." 

"He might have shot himself," mumbled Cayley. 

"Yes, he might have, but he didn't. Or if he did, 
somebody was in the room at the time, and that 
somebody isn't here now. And that somebody took 
a revolver away with him. Well, the police will 
want to say 8 word about that, won't they V 

Cayley was silent, looking on the ground. 

"Oh, I know what you're thinking, and believe me 
I do sympathize with you, but we can't be children 
about it If your cousin Mark Ablett was in the 
room with this" — he indicated the body — "this man, 
then " 

"Who said he was V* said Cayley, jerking his head 
up suddenly at Antony. 


"You did." 

"I was in the library. Mark went in — he may 
have come out agaiu — I know nothing. Somebody 
else may have gone in " 

"Yes, yeB," said Antony patiently, as if to a little 
child. "You know your cousin ; I don't. Let's agTee 
that he had nothing to do with it. But somebody 
was in the room when this man was shot, and — well, 

the police will have to know. Don't you think " 

He looked at the telephone. "Or would you rather 
I did it?" 

Cayley shrugged his shoulders and went to the 

"May I — er — look round a bit V Antony nodded 
towards the open door. 

"Oh, do. Yes." He sat down and drew the tele- 
phone towards him. "You must make allowances for 
me, Mr. Gillingham. You see, I've known Mark 
for a very long time. But, of course, you're quite 
right, and I'm merely being stupid." He took off 
the receiver. 

Let us suppose that, for the purpose of making 
a first acquaintance with this "office," we are com- 
ing into it from the hall, through the door which 
iB now locked, but which, for our special convenience, 
has been magically unlocked for us. As we stand 
just inside the door, the length of the room runs 
right and left ; or, more accurately, to the rigtt only, 
for the left-hand wall is almost within our reach. 


Immediately opposite to us, across the breadth of 
the room (some fifteen feet), is that other door, by 
which Cayley went out and returned a few minutes 
ago. In the right-hand wall, thirty feet away from 
us, are the French windows. Crossing the room and 
going out by the opposite door, we come into a pas- 
sage, from which two rooms lead. The one on the 
right, into which Cayley went, is less than half the 
length of the office, a small, square room, which has 
evidently been used some time or other as a bedroom. 
The bed is no longer there, but there is a basin, with 
hot and cold taps, in a corner; chairs; a cupboard 
or two, and a chest of drawers. The window faces 
the same way as the French windows in the next 
room; but anybody looking out of the bedroom win- 
dow has his view on the immediate right shut off by 
the outer wall of the office, which projects, by reason 
of its greater length, fifteen feet further into the 

The room on the other side of the bedroom is a 
bathroom. The three rooms together, in fact, form 
a sort of private suite; used, perhaps, during the 
occupation of the previous owner, by some invalid, 
who could not manage the stairs, but allowed by 
Mark to fall into disuse, save for the living-room. 
At any rate, he never slept downstairs. 

Antony glanced at the bathroom, and then wan- 
dered into the bedroom, the room into which Cayley 
had been. The window was open, and he looked out 
at the well-kept grass beneath him, and the peaceful 


stretch of park beyond; and he felt very sorry for 
the owner of it all, who was now mixed up in so 
grim a business. 

"Cayley thinks he did it," said Antony to him- 
self. "That's obvious. It explains why he wasted 
so much time banging on the door. Why should he 
try to break a lock when it's so much easier to break 
a window? Of course he might just have lost his 
head; on the other hand, he might — well, he might 
have wanted to give his cousin a chance oi getting 
away. The same about the police, and — oh, lota of 
things. Why, for instance, did we run all the way 
round the house in order to get to the windows? 
Surely there's a back way out through the 'hall. I 
must have a look later on." 

Antony, it will be observed, had by no means lost 
his head. 

There was a step in the passage outside, and he 
turned round, to see Cayley in the doorway. He 
remained looking at him for a moment, asking him- 
self a question. It was rather a curious question. 
He was asking himself why the door was open- 
Well, not exactly why the door was open; that 
could be explained easily enough. But why had he 
expected the door to be shut. He did not remember 
shutting it, but somehow he was surprised to see it 
open now, to see Cayley through the doorway, just 
coming into the room. Something working sub- 
consciously in his brain had told him that it was 
surprising. Why I 


He tucked the matter away in a corner of hii 
mind for the moment; the answer would come to 
him later on. He had a wonderfully retentive mind. 
Everything which he saw or heard seemed to make 
its corresponding impression somewhere in his 
brain; often without his being conscious of it; and 
these photographic impressions were always there 
ready for him when he wished to develop them. 

Cayley joined him at the window. 

'I've telephoned," he said. "They're sending an 
inspector or some one from Middleston, and the 
local police and doctor from Stanton." He shrugged 
his shoulders. "We're in for it now." 

"How far away is Middleston ?" It was the town 
for which Antony had taken a ticket that morning; — 
only six hours ago. How absurd it seemed. 

"About twenty miles. These people will be com- 
ing back soon." 

"Beverley, and the others ?" 

"Yes. I expect they'll want to go away at once." 

"Much better that they should." 

"Yes." Cayley was silent for a little. Then he 
said, "You're staying near here?" 

"I'm at the 'George,' at Woodham." 

"If you're by yourself, I wish you'd put up here. 
You see," he went on awkwardly, "you'll have to be 
here — for the — inquest and — and so on. If I may 
offer you my cousin's hospitality in his — I mean if 
he doesn't — if he really 


Antony broke in hastily with his thanks and 

"That's good. Perhaps Beverley will stay on, if 
he's a friend of yours. He's a good fellow." 

Antony felt quite sure, from what Cayley had said 
and had hesitated to say, that Mark had been the 
last to see his brother alive. It didn't follow that 
Mark Ablett was a murderer. Revolvers go off acci- 
dentally; and when they have gone off, people lose 
their heads and run away, fearing that their story 
will not be believed. Nevertheless, when people run 
away, whether innocently or guiltily, one can't help 
wondering which way they went 

"I suppose this way," said Antony aloud, looking 
out of the window. 

"Who?" said Cayley stubbornly. 

"Well, whoever it was," said Antony, smiling to 
himself. "The murderer. Or, let us say, the man 
who locked the door after Eobert Ablett was killed." 

"I wonder." 

"Well, how else could he have got away? He 
didn't go by the windows in the next room, because 
they were shut." 

"Isn't that rather odd ?" 

"Well, I thought so at first, but " He pointed 

to the wall jutting out on the right "You see, 
you're protected from the rest of the house if you 
get out here, and you're quite close to the shrubbery. 
If you go out at the French windows, I imagine 


you're much more visible. All that part of the 
house—" he waved his right hand — "the west, 
well, north-west almost, where the kitchen parts are 
— you see, you're hidden from them here. Oh, yes ! 
he knew the house, whoever it waa, and he was quite 
right to come out of this window. He'd be into the 
shrubbery at once." 

Cayley looked at him thoughtfully. 

"It seems to me, Mr. G-illingham, that you know 
the house pretty well, considering that this is the 
first time you've been to it." 

Antony laughed. 

"Oh, well, I notice things, you know. I was born 
noticing. But I'm right, aren't I, about why he went 
out this way?" 

"Yes, I think you are." Cayley looked away — 
towards the shrubbery. "Do you want to go noticing 
in there now ?" He nodded at it. 

"I think we might leave that to the police,'' said 
Antony gently. "It's — well, there's no hurry." 

Cayley gave a little sigh, as if he had been hold- 
ing his breath for the answer and could now breathe 

"Thank yon, Mr. Gillingham," he said. 



GUESTS at the Red Home were allowed to do 
what they liked within reason — the reasonable- 
ness or otherwise of it being decided by Mark. But 
when once they (or Mark) had made up their minds 
as to what they wanted to do, the plan had to be kept. 
Mrs. Calladine, who knew this little weakness of 
their host's, resisted, therefore, the suggestion of Bill 
that they should have a second round in the after- 
noon, and drive home comfortably after tea. The 
other golfers were willing enough, but Mrs. Calladine, 
without actually saying that Mr. Ablett wouldn't 
like it, was firm on the point that, having arranged 
to be back by four, they should be back by four. 

"I really don't think Mark wants us. you know," 
said the Major. Having played badly m the morn- 
ing, he wanted to prove to himself in the afternoon 
that he was really better than that. "With this 
brother of his coming, he'll be only too glad to have 
us out of the way." 

"Of course he will, Major." This from Bill. 
"You'd like to play, wouldn't you, Miss Karris ?" 



Miss Norris looked doubtfully at the hostess. 

"Of course, if you want to get back, dear, we 
mustn't keep you here. Besides, it's so dull for you, 
not playing." 

"Just nine holes, mother," pleaded Betty. 

"The car could take you back, and you could tell 
them that we were having another round, and then 
it could come back for us," said Bill brilliantly. 

"It's certainly much cooler here than I expected," 
put in the Major. 

Mrs. Calladine fell. It was very pleasantly cool 
outside the golf-house, and of course Mark would be 
rather glad to have them out of the way. So she 
consented to nine holes ; and the match having ended 
all-square, and everybody having played much better 
than in the morning, they drove back to the Red 
House, very well pleased with themselves. • 

"Hallo," said Bill to himself, as they approached 
the house, "isn't that old Tony?" 

Antony was standing in front of the house, waiting 
for them. Bill waved, and he waved back. Then 
as the car drew up, Bill, who was in front with the 
chauffeur, jumped down and greeted him eagerly. 

"Hallo, you madman, have you come to stay, or 
what?" He had a sudden idea, "Don't say you're 
Mark Ablett's long-lost brother from Australia, 
though I could quite believe it of you." He laughed 

"Hallo, Bill," said Antony quietly. "Will you 
introduce me ? I'm afraid I've got some bad news." 


Bill, rather sobered by this, introduced him. The 
Major and Mrs. Calladine were on the near side of 
the car, and Antony spoke to them in a low voice. 

"I'm afraid I'm going to give you rather a shock," 
he said. "Kobert Ablett, Mr. Mark Ablett's brother, 
has been killed." He jerked a thumb over his 
shoulder. "In the house." 

"Good God !" said the Major. 

"Do you mean that he has killed himself ?" asked 
Mrs. Calladine. "Just now?" 

"It was about two hours ago. I happened to come 
here," — he half-turned to Beverley and explained — 
"I was coming to see you, Bill, and I arrived just 
after the — the death. Mr. Cayley and I found the 
body. Mr. Cayley being busy just now — there are 
police and doctors and so on in the house — he asked 
me to tell you. He saya that no doubt you would 
prefer, the house-party having been broken up in 
this tragic way, to leave as soon as possible." He 
gave a pleasant apologetic little smile and went on. 
"I am putting it badly, but what he means, of course, 
is that you must consult your own feelings in the 
matter entirely, and please make your own arrange- 
ments about ordering the car for whatever train you 
wish to catch. There is one this evening, I under- 
stand, which you could go by if you wished it." 

Bill gazed with open mouth at Antony. He had 
no words in his vocabulary to express what he wanted 
to say, other than those the Major had already used. 
F"*ty was leaning across to Miss Norris and saying, 


"Who's killed?" in an awe-struck voice, and Miss 
Nbrris, who was instinctively looking as tragic as 
she looked on the stage when a messenger announced 
the death of one of the cast, stopped for a moment 
in order to explain. Mrs. Calladine was quietly 
mistress of herself. 

"We shall be in the way, yes, I quite understand," 
she said; "but we can't just shake the dust of the 
place off our shoes because something terrible has 
happened there. I must see Mark, and we can ar- 
range later what to do. He must know how very 

deeply we feel for him. Perhaps we " 6he 


"The Major and 1 might be useful anyway," 
said BilL "Isn't that what you mean, Mrs. 

"Where is Mark ?" said the Major suddenly, look- 
ing hard at Antony. 

Antony looked back unwaveringly — and said 

"I think," said the Major gently, leaning over to 
Mrs. Calladine, "that it would be better if you took 
Betty back to London to-night" 

"Very well," she agreed quietly. "You will come 
with us, Ruth?" 

"I'll see you safely there," said Bill in a meek 
voice. He didn't quite know what was happening, 
and, having expected to stay at the Bed House for 
another week, he had nowhere to go to in London, 
but London seemed to be the place that everyone was 


going to, and when he ceroid get Tony alone for a 
moment, Tony no donbt would explain. 

"Cayley wants jou to stay, Bill. You have to 
go anyhow, to-morrow, Major Rumbold?" 

"Yes. I'll come with you, Mrs. Calladine.'' 

"Mr. Cayley would wish me to say again that you 
will please not hesitate to give your own orders, both 
as regards the car and as regards any telephoning or 
telegraphing that you want done." He smiled again 
and added, "Please forgive me if I seem to have 
taken a good deal upon myself, but I just happened 
to be handy as a mouthpiece for Cayley." He bowed 
to them and went into the house. 

"Weill" said Miss Norris dramatically. 

As Antony re-entered the hall, the Inspector from 
Middleston was just crossing into the library with 
Cayley. The latter stopped and nodded to Antony. 

"Wait a moment, Inspector. Here's Mr. Gilling- 
kam. He'd better come with us." And then to 
Antony. "This is Inspector Birch." 

Birch looked inquiringly from one to the other. 

"Mr. Gillingham and I found the body together," 
explained Cayley. 

"Oh I Well, come along, and let's get the facts 
sorted out a bit I like to know where I am, Mr. 

"We all do." 

"Oh I" He looked at Antony with interest 
"D'you know where you are in this case?" 

"I know where I'm going to be." 


"Where's that!" 

"Put through it by Inspector Birch," said Antony 
with a smile. 

The inspector laughed genially. 

"Well, I'll spare you as much as I can. Come 

They went into the library. The inspector seated 
himself at a writing-table, and Cayley sat in a chair 
by the side of it. Antony made himself comfortable 
in an armchair and prepared to be interested. 

"We'll start with the dead man," said the in- 
spector. "Robert Ablett, didn't you say ?" He took 
out his notebook. 

"Yes. Brother of Mark Ablett, who lives here." 

"Ah 1" He began to sharpen a pencil. "Staying 
in the house?" 

"Oh, no!" 

Antony listened attentively while Cayley ex- 
plained all that he knew about Robert. This was 
news to him. 

"I see. Sent out of the country in disgrace. What 
had he done?" 

"I hardly know. I was only about twelve at the 
time. The sort of age when you're told not to ask 

"Inconvenient questions I" 


"So you don't really know whether he bv& been 
merely wild or — or wicked?" 

"No. Old Mr. Ablett was a clergyman," added 


Cayley. "Perhaps what might seem wicked to a 
clergyman might seem only wild to a man of the 

"I daresay, Mr. Cayley," smiled the inspector. 
"Anyhow, it was more convenient to have him in 
Australia ?" 


"Mark Ahlett never talked about him?" 

"Hardly ever. He was very much ashamed of 
him, and — well, very glad he was in Australia." 

"Did he write Mark sometimes?" 

"Occasionally. Perhaps three or four times in 
the last five years." 

"Asking for money?" 

"Something of the sort. I don't think Mark al- 
ways answered them. As far as I know, he never 
sent any money." 

"Now your own private opinion, Mr. Cayley. Do 
you think that Mark was unfair to his brother? 
Unduly hard on him?" 

"They'd never liked each other as boys. There 
was never any affection between them. I don't know 
whose fault it was in the first place — if anybody's." 

"Still, Mark might have given him a hand?" 

"I understand," said Cayley, "that Robert spent 
his whole life asking for hands." 

The inspector nodded. 

"I know that sort. Well, now, we'll go on to this 
morning. This letter that Mark got — did you see 
itl w 


"Not at the time. He showed it to me after- 

"Any address!" 

"No. A half-sheet of rather dirty paper." 

"Where is it now?" 

"I don't know. In Mark's pocket, I expect" 

"Ah!" He pulled at his beard. "Well, we'll 
oome to that Can you remember what it said ?" 

"As far as I remember, something like this: 
•Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you to- 
morrow, all the way from Australia. I give you 
warning so that you will be able to conceal your 
surprise, but not I hope, your pleasure. Expect him 
at three, or thereabouts.' " 

"Ah I" The inspector copied it down carefully. 
"Did vou notice the postmark?" 


"And what was Mark's attitude!" 

"Annoyance, disgust " Cayley hesitated. 

"Apprehension ?" 

tc N — no, not exactly. Or, rather, apprehension 
of an unpleasant interview, not of any unpleasant 
outcome for himself." 

"You mean that he wasn't afraid of violence, or 
blackmail, or anything of that sort?" 

"He didn't appear to be." 

"Right. . . . Now then, he arrived, you say, 
about three o'clock?" 

"Yes, about that." 

"Who was in the house then!'' 


"Mark and myself, aid some of the servants, f 
don't know which. Of course, you will ask them 
directly, no doubt" 

"With your permission. No guests?" 

"They were out all day playing golf," explained 
Cayley. "Oh, by the way," he put in, "If I may 
interrupt a moment, will you want to see them at 
all ? It isn't very pleasant for them now, naturally, 

and I suggested " he turned to Antony, who 

nodded back to him. "I understand that they want 
to go back to London this evening. There's no ob- 
jection to that, I suppose?" 

"You will let me have their names and addresses 
in case I want to communicate with them!" 

"Of course. One of them is staying on, if you 
would like to see him later, but they only came back 
from their golf as we crossed the hall." 

"That's all right, Mr. Cayley. Well, now then, 
let's go back to three o'clock. Where were you when 
Robert arrived?" 

Cayley explained how he had been sitting in the 
hall, how Audrey had asked him where the master 
was, and how he had said that he had last seen him 
going up to the Temple. 

"She went away, and I went on with my book. 
There was a step on the stairs, and I looked up to 
see Mark coming down. He went into the office, and 
I went on with my book again. I went into the 
library for a moment, to refer to another book, and 
when I was in there I heard a shot . At least it 


was a loud bang, 1 wasn't sure if it was a shot. I 
stood and listened. Then I came slowly to the door 
and looked out. Then I went back again, hesitated 
a bit, you know, and finally decided to go across to 
the office, and make sure that it was all right. I 
turned the handle of the door and found it was 
locked. Then I got frightened, and I banged at the 
door, and shouted, and — well, that was when Mr. 
Gillingham arrived." He went on to explain how 
they had found the body. 

The inspector looked at him with asmile. 

"Yes, well, we shall have to go over some of that 
again, Mr. Cayley. Mr. Mark, now. You thought 
he was in the Temple. Could he have come in, and 
gone up to his room, without your seeing him ?" 

"There are back stairs. He wouldn't have used 
them in the ordinary way, of course. But I wasn't 
in the hall all the afternoon. He might easily have 
gone upstairs without my knowing anything about 

"So that you weren't surprised when you saw him 
coming down?" 

"Oh, not a bit" 

"Well, did he say anything?" 

"He said, 'Eobert's here?' or something of the 
sort I suppose he'd heard the bell, or the voices 
in the hall." 

"Which way does his bedroom face? Could ha 
have seen him coming down the drive?" 

"He might have, yes." 



"Well, then, I said 'Yes,' and he gave a sort of 
shrug, and said, 'Don't go too far away, I might 
want you' ; and then went in." 

"What did you think he meant by that?" 

"Well, he consults me a good deal, you know. I'm 
his sort of unofficial solicitor in a kind of way." 

"This was a business meeting rather than a broth- 
erly one?" 

"Oh, yes. That's how he regarded it, I'm sure." 

"Yes. How long was it before you heard the 

"Very soon. Two minutes, perhaps." 

The inspector finished his writing, and then re- 
garded Cayley thoughtfully. Suddenly he said: 

"What is your theory of Robert's death ?" 

Cayley shrugged his shoulders. 

"You've probably seen more than I've seen," ho 
answered. "It's your job. I can only speak as a 
layman — and Mark's friend." 


"Then I should say that Robert came here mean- 
ing trouble, and bringing a revolver with him. He 
produced it almost at once, Mark tried to get it from 
him, there was a little struggle perhaps, and it went 
off. Mark lost his head, finding himself there with 
a revolver in his hand and a dead man at his feet 
His one idea was to escape. He locked the door 
instinctively, and then, when he heard me hammer- 
ing at it, went out of the window." 


"Y — yes. Well, that sounds reasonable enough. 
What do you say, Mr. Gillingham?" 

"I should hardly call it 'reasonable* to lose your 
head," said Antony, getting up from his chair and 
coming towards them. 

"Well, you know what I mean. It explains 

"Oh, yes. Any other explanation would make 
them much more complicated. 

"Have you any other explanation?" 

"Not I." 

"Are there any points on which you would like 
to correct Mr. Cayley? — anything that he left out 
after you arrived here?" 

"No, thanks. He described it all very accurately." 

"Ah I Well now, about yourself. You're not stay- 
ing in the house, I gather?" 

Antony explained his previous movements. 

"Yes. Did you hear the shot?" 

Antony put his head on one side, as if listening. 

"Yes. Just as I came in sight of the house. It 
didn't make any impression at the time, but I re- 
member it now." 

"Where were you then?" 

"Coming up the drive. I was just in sight ef 
the house." 

"Nobody left the house by the front door after 
the shot?" 

Antony closed his eyes and considered. 

"Nobody," he said. "No." 

"You're certain of that?" 


"Absolutely," said Antony, as though rather sur- 
prised that he could be suspected of a mistake. 

"Thank you. You're at the 'George,' if I want 

"Mr. Gillingham is staying here until after the 
inquest," explained Cayley. 

"Good. Well now, about these servants!" 



AS Cayley went over to the bell, Antony got up 
and moved to the door. 

"Well, you won't want me, I suppose, inspector," 
he said. 

"No, thank you, Mr. Gillingham. You'll be 
about, of course?" 

"Oh, yes." 

The inspector hesitated. 

"I think, Mr. Cayley, it would be better if I saw 
the servants alone. You know what they are; the 
more people about, the more they get alarmed. I 
expect I can get at the truth better by myself." 

"Oh, quite so. In fact, I was going to ask you 
to excuse me. I feel rather responsible towards these 
guests of ours. Although Mr. Gillingham very 
kindly " He smiled at Antony, who was wait- 
ing at the door, and left his sentence unfinished. 

"Ah, that reminds me," said the inspector. 
"Didn't you say that one of your guests — Mr. 
Beverley was it \— a friend of Mr. Gillingham's, was 
•taring on!" 



"Yea; would yon like to see him?" 

"Afterwards, if I may." 

"I'll warn him. I shall be np in my room, if you 
want ma I have a room npstairs where I work — 
any of the servants will show you. Ah, Stevens, 
Inspector Birch would like to ask you a few ques- 

"Yes, sir," said Audrey primly, but inwardly 

The housekeeper's room had heard something of 
the news by this time, and Audrey had had a busy 
time explaining to other members of the staff ex- 
actly what he had said, and what she had said. The 
details were not quite established yet, but this much 
at least was certain: that Mr. Mark's brother had 
shot himself and spirited Mr. Mark away, and that 
Audrey had seen at once that he was that sort of 
man when she opened the door to him. She had 
passed the remark to Mrs. Stevens. And Mrs. 
Stevens — if you remember, Audrey — had always 
said that people didn't go away to Australia except 
for very good reasons. Elsie agreed with both of 
them, but she had a contribution of her own to make. 
She had actually heard Mr. Mark in the office, 
threatening his brother. 

"You mean Mr. Robert," said the second parlour- 
maid. She had been having a little nap in her room, 
but she had heard the bang. In fact, it had woken 
her up — just like something going off, it was. 

"It was Mr. Mark's voice," said Elsie firmly. 


"Pleading for mercy," said an eager-eyed kitchen- 
maid hopefully from the door, and was hurried out 
again by the others, ■wishing that she had not given 
her presence away. But it was hard to listen in 
silence when she knew so well from her novelettes 
just what happened on these occasions. 

"I shall have to give that girl a piece of my mind," 
said Mrs. Stevens. "Well, Elsie ?" 

"He said, I heard him say it with my own ears, 
'It's my turn now,' he said triumphant-like." 

"Well, if you think that's a threat, dear, you're 
very particular, I must say." 

But Audrey remembered Elsie's words when she 
was in front of Inspector Birch. She gave her own 
evidence with the readiness of one who had already 
repeated it several times, and was examined and 
cross-examined by the inspector with considerable 
skill. The temptation to say, "Never mind about 
what you said to him," was strong, but he resisted it, 
knowing that in this way he would discover best 
what he said to her. By this time both his words 
and the looks he gave her were gettixg their full 
value from Audrey, but the general meaning of them 
seemed to be well-established. 

"Then you didn't see Mr. Mark at all?" 

"No, sir; he must have come in before and 
gone up to his room. Or come in by the front 
door, likely enough, while I was going out by 
the back.". 

"Yes. Well, I think that's all that I want to 


know, thank you very much. Kow what about the 
other servants?" 

"Elsie heard the master and Mr. Robert talking 
together," said Audrey eagerly. "He was saying — 
Mr. Mark, I mean " 

"Ah ! Well, I think Elsie had better tell me that 
herself. Who is Elsie, by the way?" 

"One of the housemaids. Shall I send her to 
you, sir?" 


Elsie was not sorry to get the message. It inter- 
rupted a few remarks from Mrs. Stevens about 
Elsie's conduct that afternoon which were (Elsie 
thought) much better interrupted. In Mrs. Stevens' 
opinion any crime committed that afternoon in the 
office was as nothing to the double crime committed 
by the unhappy Elsie. 

For Elsie realized too late that she would have 
done better to have said nothing about her presence 
in the hall that afternoon. She was bad at conceal- 
ing the truth and Mrs. Stevens was good at dis- 
covering it Elsie knew perfectly well that she had 
no business to come down the front stairs, and it 
was no excuse to say that she happened to come out 
of Miss Nbrris' room just at the head of the stairs, 
and didn't think it would matter, as there was no- 
body in the hall, and what was she doing anyhow 
in Mi** Karris' room at that time! Returning a 
magazine? Lent by Miss Norris, might she ask? 
Well, not exactly lent Really, Elsie ! — and this in 


a respectable home ! In vain for poor Elsie to plead 
that a story by her favourite author was advertised 
on the cover, with a picture of the villain falling 
over the cliff. "That's where you'U go to, my girl, 
if you aren't careful," said Mrs. Stevens firmly. 

But, of course, there was no need to confess all 
these crimes to Inspector Birch. All that interested 
him was that she was passing through the hall, and 
heard voices in the office. 

"And stopped to listen V 

"Certainly not," said Elsie with dignity, feeling 
that nobody really understood her. "I was just 
passing through the hall, just as you might have 
been yourself, and not supposing they were talking 
secrets, didn't think to stop my ears, as no doubt I 
ought to have done." And she sniffed slightly. 

"Come, come," said the inspector soothingly, "I 
didn't mean to suggest " 

"Everyone is very unkind to me," said Elsie be- 
tween sniffs, "and there's that poor man lying dead 
there, and sorry they'd have been, if it had been me, 
to have spoken to me as they have done this day." 

"Nonsense, we're going to be very proud of you. 
I shouldn't be surprised if your evidence were of 
very great importance. Now then, what was it you 
heard? Try to remember the exact words." 

Something about working in a passage, thought 

"Yes, but who said itS" 

"Mr. Kobert" 


"How do you know it was Mr. Robert! Had 
yon heard his voice before?" 

"I don't take it upon myself to aay that I had had 
any acquaintance with Mr. Robert, but seeing that 
it wasn't Mr. Mark, nor yet Mr. Cayley, nor any 
other of the gentlemen, and Miss Stevens had shown 
Mr. Robert into the office not five minutes be- 
fore " 

"Quite so," said the inspector hurriedly. "Mr. 
Robert, undoubtedly. Working in a passage!" 

"That was what it sounded like, sir." 

"H'm. Working a passage over — could that have 
been it?" 

"That's right, sir," said Elsie eagerly. "He'd 
worked his passage over." 


"And then Mr. Mark said loudly — sort of tri- 
umphant-like — 'It's my turn now. You wait.' " 


"As much as to say his chance had come." 

"And that's all you heard?" 

"That's all, sir — not standing there listening, but 
just passing through the hall, as it might be any 

"Yes. Well, thaf s really very important, Elsie. 
Thank you." 

Elsie gave him a smile, and returned eagerly to 
the kitchen. She was ready for Mrs. Stevens or any- 
body now. 

Meanwhile Antony had been exploring a little on 


his own. There was s point which was puzzling 
him. He went through the hall to the front of the 
house and stood at the open door, looking out on to 
tho drive. He and Cay ley had run round the house 
to the left Surely it would have been quicker to 
have run round to the right! The front door was 
not in the middle of the house, it was to the end. 
Undoubtedly they went the longest way round. But 
perhaps there was something in the way, if one went 
to the right — a wall, say. He strolled off in that 
direction, followed a path round the house and came 
in sight of the office windows. Quite simple, and 
about half the distance of the other way. He went 
on a little farther, and came to a door, just beyond 
the broken-in windows. It opened easily, and he 
found himself in a passage. At the end of the 
passage was another door. He opened it and found 
himself in the hall again. 

"And, of course, that's the quickest way of the 
three," he said to himself. "Through the hall, and 
out at the back ; turn to the left and there you are. 
Instead of which, we ran the longest way round the 
house. Why! Was it to give Mark more time in 
which to escape! Only, in that case — why run? 
Also, how did Cayley know then that it was Mark 
who was trying to escape ! If he had guessed — well, 
not guessed, but been afraid — that one had shot the 
other, it was much more likely that Robert had shot 
Mark. Indeed, he had admitted that this was what 
he thought The firat thing he had said when he 


turned the body over was, 'Thank God ! I was afraid 
it was Mark.' But why should he want to give 
Bobert time in which to get away! And again — > 
why run, if he did want to give him timet" 

Antony went out of the house again to the lawns 
at the back, and sat down on a bench in view of the 
office windows. 

"Now then," he said, 'let's go through Cayley's 
mind carefully, and see what we get" 

Cayley had been in the hall when Eobert was 
shown into the office. The servant goes off to look 
for Mark, and Cayley goes on with his book. Mark 
comes down the stairs, warns Cayley to stand by in 
case he is -'wanted, and goes to meet his brother. 
What does Cayley expect? Possibly that he won't 
be wanted at all; possibly that his advice may be 
wanted in the matter, say, of paying Roberts' debts, 
or getting him a passage back to Australia ; possibly 
that his physical assistance may be wanted to get 
an obstreperous Robert out of the house. Well, he 
sits there for a moment, and then goes into the 
library. Why not? He is still within reach, if 
wanted. Suddenly he hears a pistol-shot A pistol- 
shot is the last noise you expect to hear in a country- 
house; very natural, then, that for the moment he 
would hardly realize what it was. He listens — and 
hears nothing more. Perhaps it wasn't a pistol-shot 
after all. After a moment or two he goes to the 
library door again. The profound silence makes 
hi™ uneasy now. Was it a pistol-shot? Absurd! 


Still — no harm, in going into the office on some ex- 
cuse, just to reassure himself. So he tries the door — 
and finds it locked I 

What are his emotions now ? Alarm, uncertainty. 
Something is happening. Incredible though it seems, 
it must have been a pistol-shot He is banging at 
the door and calling out to Mark, and there is no 
answer. Alarm — yes. But alarm for whose safety ? 
Mark's, obviously. Robert is a stranger; Mark is 
an intimate friend. Robert has written a letter that 
morning, the letter of a man in a dangerous temper. 
Robert is the tough customer ; Mark the highly civil- 
ized gentleman. If there has been a quarrel, it is 
Robert who has shot Mark. He bangs at the door 

Of course, to Antony, coming suddenly upon this 
scene, Cayley*s conduct had seemed rather absurd, 
but then, just for the moment, Cayley had lost his 
head. Anybody else might have done the same. But, 
as soon as Antony suggested trying the windows, 
Cayley saw that that was the obvious thing to do. 
So he leads the way to the windows — the longest 

Why ? To give the murderer time to escape ? If 
he had thought then that Mark was the murderer, 
perhaps, yes. But he thinks that Robert is the mur- 
derer. If he is not hiding anything, he must think 
so. Indeed he says so, when he sees the body; "I 
was afraid it was Mark," he says, when he finds 
that it is Robert who is killed. No reason, then, 


for wishing to gain time. On the contrary, every 
instinct would urge him to get into the room as 
quickly as possible, and seize the wicked Robert. 
Yet he goes the longest way round. Why? And 
then, why run? 

"That's the question," said Antony to himself, aa 
he filled his pipe, "and bless me if I know the an- 
swer. It may be, of course, that Cayley is just a 
coward. He was in no hurry to get close to Robert's 
revolver, and yet wanted me to think that he was 
bursting with eagerness. That would explain it, but 
then that makes Cayley out a coward. Is he ? At 
any rate he pushed his face up against the window 
bravely enough. No, I want a better answer than 

He sat there with his unlit pipe in his hand think- 
ing. There were one or two other things in the back 
of his brain, waiting to be taken out and looked at. 
For the moment he left them undisturbed. They 
would come back to him later when he wanted them. 

He laughed suddenly, and lit his pipe. 

"I was wanting a new profession," he thought, 
"and now I've found it. Antony Gillingham, our 
own private sleuthhound. I shall begin to-day." 

Whatever Antony Gillingham's other qualifica- 
tions for his new profession, he had at any rate a) 
brain which worked clearly and quickly. And this 
clear brain of his had already told him that he was 
the only person in the house at that moment who was 
unhandicapped in the search for truth. The ia- 


spector had arrived in it to find a man dead and a 
man missing. It was extremely probable, no doubt, 
that the missing man had shot the dead man. But 
it was more than extremely probable, it was almost 
certain that the inspector would start with the idea 
that this extremely probable solution was the one 
true solution, and that, in consequence, he would be 
less disposed to consider without prejudice any other 
solution. As regards all the rest of them — Cayley, 
the guests, the servants — they also were prejudiced; 
in favour of Mark (or possibly, for all he knew, 
against Mark) ; in favour of, or against, each other; 
they had formed some previous opinion, from what 
had been said that morning, of the sort of man 
Robert was. No one of them could consider the 
matter with an unbiassed mind.. 

But Antony could. He knew nothing about 
Mark ; he knew nothing about Robert. He had seen 
the dead man before he was told who the dead man 
was. He knew that a tragedy had happened before 
he knew that anybody was missing. Those first im- 
pressions, which are so vitally important, had been 
received solely on the merits of the case; they were 
founded on the evidence of his senses, not on the 
evidence of his emotions or of other people's senses. 
He was in a much better position for getting at the 
truth than was the inspector. 

It is possible that, in thinking this, Antony was 
doing Inspector Birch a slight injustice. Birch was 
certainly prepared to believe that Mark had shot his 


brother. Robert had been shown into the office (wit- 
ness Audrey) ; Mark had gone in to Robert (witness 
Cayley) ; Mark and Robert had been heard talking 
(witness Elsie) ; there was a shot (witness every- 
body) ; the room had been entered and Robert's body 
had been found (witness Cayley and Gillingham). 
And Mark was missing. Obviously, then, Mark had 
killed his brother: accidentally, as Cayley believed, 
or deliberately, as Elsie's evidence seemed to suggest. 
There was no point in looking for a difficult solution 
to a problem, when the easy solution had no flaw in 
it. But at the same time Birch would have pre- 
ferred the difficult solution, simply because there 
was more credit attached to it. A "sensational" ar- 
rest of somebody in the house would have given him 
more pleasure than a commonplace pursuit of Mark 
Ablett across country. Mark must be found, guilty 
or not guilty. But there were other possibilities. It 
would have interested Antony to know that, just at 
the time when he was feeling rather superior to the 
prejudiced inspector, the inspector himself was let- 
ting his mind dwell lovingly upon the possibilities 
in connexion with Mr. Gillingham. Was it only a 
coincidence that Mr. Gillingham had turned up just 
when he did ? And Mr. Beverley's curious answers 
when asked for some account of his friend. An 
assistant in a tobacconist's, a waiter ! An odd man, 
Mr. Gillingham, evidently. It might be as well to 
keep an eye on him. 



THE guests had said good-bye to Cayley, accord- 
ing to their different manner. The Major, gruff 
and simple : "If you want me, command me. Any- 
thing I can do — Goodbye"; Betty, silently sympa- 
thetic, with everything in her large eyes which she 
was too much overawed to tell ; Mrs. Calladine, pro- 
testing that she did not know what to say, but 
apparently finding plenty; and Miss Norris, crowd- 
ing so much into one despairing gesture that Cayley's 
unvarying "Thank you very much" might have been 
taken this time as gratitude for an artistic enter- 

Bill had seen them into the car, had taken his 
own farewells (with a special squeeze of the hand 
for Betty), and had wandered out to join Antony on 
his garden seat. 

"Well, this is a rum show," said Bill as he sat 

"Very rum, William." 

"And you actually walked right into it V* 

"Eight into it," said Antony. 

"The* you're the man I want. There are all sorts 



of rumours and mysteries about, and that inspector 
fellow simply wouldn't keep to the point when I 
wanted to ask him about the murder, or whatever it 
is, but kept asking me questions about where I'd met 
you first, and all sorts of dull things like that. !Now 
what really happened?" 

Antony told him as concisely as he could all that 
he had already told the inspector, Bill interrupting 
him here and there with appropriate "Good Lords" 
and whistles. 

"I say, it's a bit of a business, isn't it! Where 
do I come in, exactly?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"Well, everybody else is bundled off except me, 
and I get put through it by that inspector as if I 
knew all about it — what's the idea?" 

Antony smiled at him. 

"Well, there's nothing to worry about, you know. 
Naturally Birch wanted to see one of you so as to 
know what you'd all been doing all day. And Cay- 
ley was nice enough to think that you'd be company 
for me, as I knew you already. And — well, that's 

"You're staying here, in the house?" said Bill 
eagerly. "Good man. That's splendid." 

"It reconciles you to the departure of — some of 
the others?" 

Bill blushed. 

"Oh, well, I shall see her again next week, any- 
way," he murmured. 


"I congratulate you. I liked her looks. And that 
grey dress. A nice comfortable sort of woman ** 

"You fool, that's her mother." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. But anyhow, Bill, I 
want you more than she does just now. So try and 
put up with me." 

"I say, do you really ?" said Bill, rather flattered. 
He had a great admiration for Antony, and was very 
proud to be liked by him. 

"Yes. You see, things are going to happen here 

"Inquests and that sort of thing?" 

"Well, perhaps something before that. Hallo, 
here comes Cayley." 

Oayley was walking across the lawn towards them, 
a big, heavy-shouldered man, with one of those 
strong, clean-shaven, ugly faces which can never 
quite be called plain. 

"Bad luck on Cayley," said Bill. "I say, ought 
I to tell him how sorry I am and all that sort of 
thing? It seems so dashed inadequate." 

"I shouldn't bother," said Antony. 

Cayley nodded as he came to them, and stood there 
for a moment. 

"We can make room for you," said Bill, getting 

"Oh, don't bother, thanks. I just came to say," 
he went on to Antony, "that naturally they're rather 
lost their heads in the kitchen, and dinner won't be 


till half-past eight Do just as you like about dress- 
ing, of course. And what about your luggage ?" 

"I thought Bill and I would walk over to the inn 
directly, and see about it" 

"The car can go and fetch it as soon as it comes 
back from the station." 

"It's very good of you, but I shall have i» go 
over myself, anyhow, to pack up and pay my bill. 
Besides, it's a good evening for a walk. If you 
wouldn't mind it, Bill?" 

"I should love it" 

"Well, then, if you leave the bag there, Til send 
the car round for it later." 

"Thanks very much." 

Having said what he wanted to say, Cayley re- 
mained there a little awkwardly, as if not sure 
whether to go or to stay. Antony wondered whether 
he wanted to talk about the afternoon's happenings, 
or whether it was the one subject he wished to avoid. 
To break the silence he asked carelssly if the in- 
spector had gone. 

Cayley nodded. Then he said abruptly, "He's 
getting a warrant for Mark's arrest." 

Bill made a suitably sympathetic noise, and An- 
tony said with a shrug of the shoulders, "Well, he 
was bound to do that, wasn't he! It doesn't follow 
that — well, it doesn't mean anything. They natu- 
rally want to get hold of your cousin, innocent ox 


"Which do you think he is, Mr. Gillingham?" 
said Cayley, looking at him steadily. 

"Mark? It's absurd," said Bill impetuously. 

"Bill's loyal, you see, Mr. Cayley." 

"And you owe no loyalty to anyone concerned V* 

"Exactly. So perhaps I might be too frank." 

Bill had dropped down on the grass, and Cayley 
took his place on the seat, and sat there heavily, his 
elbows on his knees, his chin on his hands, gazing at 
the ground. 

"I want you to be quite frank," he said at last. 
"Naturally I am prejudiced where Mark is con- 
cerned. So I want to know how my suggestion 
strikes you — who have no prejudices either way." 

"Your suggestion?" 

"My theory that, if Mark killed his brother, it 
was purely accidental — as I told the inspector." 

Bill looked up with interest. 

"You mean that Robert did the hold-up business," 
he said, "and there was a bit of a struggle, and the 
revolver went off, and then Mark lost his head and 
bolted? That sort of idea?" 


"Well, that seems all right." He turned to An- 
tony. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there! • 
It's the most natural explanation to anyone who 
knows Mark." 

Antony pulled at his pipe. 

"I suppose it is," he said slowly. "But there's 
one thing that worries me rather." 


"What's that?" Bill and Cayley aaked the ques- 
tion simultaneously. 

"The key." 

"The key?" said Bill. 

Cayley lifted his head and looked at Antony. 
"What about the key?" he asked. 

"Well there may be nothing in it ; I just wondered. 
Suppose Kobert was killed as you say, and suppose 
Mark lost hia head and thought of nothing but 
getting away before anyone could see him. Well, 
very likely he'd lock the door and put the key in 
his pocket. He'd do it without thinking, just to 
gain a moment's time." 

"Yes, that's what I suggest" 

"It seems sound enough," said Bill. "Sort of 
thing you'd do without thinking, Besides, if you 
are going to run away, it gives you more of a 

"Yes, that's all right if the key is there. But 
suppose it isn't there ?" 

The suggestion, made as if it were already an es- 
tablished fact startled them both. They looked at 
him wonderingly. 

"What do you mean ?" said Cayley 

" Well, it's just a question of where people happen 
to keep their keys. You go up to your bedroom, 
and perhaps you like to lock your door in case any- 
body comes wandering in when you've only got one 
sock and a pair of braces on. Well, that's natural 
enough. And if you look around the bedrooms of 


almost any bouse, you'll find the keys all ready, so 
that you can lock yourself in at a moment's notice. 
But downstairs people don't lock themselves in. It's 
really never done at all. Bill, for instance, has 
never locked himself into the dining-room in order 
to he alone with the sherry. On the other hand, 
all women, and particularly servants, have a horror 
of burglars. And if a burglar gets in by the window, 
they like to limit his activities to that particular 
room. So they keep the keys on the outside of the 
doors, and lock the doors when they go to bed." He 
knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and added, "At 
least, my mother always used to." 

"You mean," said Bill excitedly, "That the key 
was on the outside of the door when Mark went into 
the room ?" 

"Well, I was just wondering." 

"Have you noticed the other rooms — the billiard- 
room, and library, and so on !" said Cayley. 

"I've only just thought about it while I've been 
sitting out here. You live here — haven't you ever 
noticed them?" 

Cayley sat considering, with his head on one 

"It seems rather absurd, you know, but I can't 
say that I have." He turned to BilL "Have you ?" 

"Good Lord, no. I should never worry about a 
thing like that" 

"I'm sure you wouldn't," laughed Antony. "Well, 
we can have a look when we go in. If the other 


keys are outside, then this one was probably outside 
too, and in that case — well, it makes it more inter- 

Cayley said nothing. Bill chewed a piece of grass 
thoughtfully, and then said, "Dees it make much 
difference 1" 

"It makes it more hard to understand what hap- 
pened in there. Take your accidental theory and 
see where you get to. No instinctive turning of the 
key now, is there? He's got to open the door to get 
it, and opening the door means showing his head to 
anybody in the hall — his cousin, for instance, whom 
he left there two minutes ago. Is a man in Mark's 
state of mind, frightened to death lest he should be 
found with the body, going to do anything so fool- 
hardy as that ?" 

"He needn't have been afraid of me," said Cayley. 

"Then why didn't he call for you? He knew 
you were about. You could have advised him; 
Heaven knows he wanted advice. But the whole 
theory of Mark's escape is that he was afraid of you 
and of everybody else, and that he had no other idea 
but to get out of the room himself, and prevent you 
or the servants from coming into it. If the key had 
been on the inside, he would probably have locked 
the door. If it were on the outside, he almost ser- 
tainly wouldn't." 

"Yes, I expect you're right," said Bill thought- 
fully. "Unless he took the key in with him, and 
locked the door at once." 


"Exactly. But in that case you have to build up 
a new theory entirely." 

"You mean that it makes it seem more deliber- 

"Yes; that, certainly. But it also seems to make 
Mark out an absolute idiot. Just suppose for a mo- 
ment that, for urgent reasons which neither of you 
know anything about, he had wished to get rid of 
his brother. Would he have done it like that ? Just 
killed him and then run away? Why, that's prac- 
tically suicide — suicide whilst of unsound mind. 
No. If you really wanted to remove an undesirable 
brother, you would do it a little bit more cleverly 
than that You'd begin by treating him as a friend, 
so as to avoid suspicion, and when you did kill him 
at last, you would try to make it look like an acci- 
dent, or suicide, or the work of some other man. 
Wouldn't you?" 

"You mean you'd give yourself a bit of a run for 
your money?" 

"Yes, that's what I mean. If you were going to 
do it deliberately, that is to say — and lock yourself 
in before you began." 

Cayley had been silent, apparently thinking over 
this new idea. With his eyes still on the ground, 
he said now: 

"I hold to my opinion that it was purely acci- 
dental, and that Mark lost his head and ran away." 

"But what about the key ?" asked Bill. 

"We don't know yet that the keys were outside. 


I don't at all agree with Mr. Gillingham that the 
keys of the downstairs rooms are always outside the 
doors. Sometimes they are, no douht; but I think 
we shall probably find that these are inside." 

"Oh, well, of course, if they are inside, then your 
original theory is probably the correct one. Having 
often seen them outside, I just wondered — that's all. 
Tou asked me to be quite frank, you know, and tell 
you what I thought. But no doubt you're right, and 
we shall find them inside, as you say." 

"Even if the key was outside," went on Cayley 
stubbornly, "I still think it might have been acci- 
dental. He might have taken it in with him, know- 
ing that the interview would be an unpleasant one, 
and not wishing to be interrupted." 

"But he had just told you to stand by in case he 
wanted you; so why should he lock you out? Be- 
sides, I should think that if a man were going to 
have an unpleasant interview with a threatening re- 
lation, the last thing he would do would be to barri- 
cade himself in with him. He would want to open 
all the doors and say, 'Get out of it I' " 

Cayley was silent, but his mouth looked obstinate. 
Antony gave a little apologetic laugh and stood up. 

"Well, come on, Bill," he said; "we ought to be 
stepping." He held out a hand and pulled his friend 
up. Then, turning to Cayley, he went on, "You 
must forgive me if I have let my thoughts run on 
rather. Of course, I was considering the matter 
purely as an outsider; just as a problem, I mean, 


which didn't concern the happiness of any of my 

"That's all right, Mr. Gillingham," said Cayley, 
standing up too. "It is for you to make allowances 
for me. I'm sure you will. You say that you're 
going up to the inn now about your bag ?" 

"Yes." He looked up at the sun and then round 
the parkland stretching about the house. "Let me 
see ; it's over in that direction, isn't it ?" He pointed 
southwards. "Can we get to the village that way, 
or must we go by the road ?" 

"I'll show you, my boy," said Bill. 

"Bill will show you. The park reaches almost aa 
far as the village. Then I'll send the car round in 
about half an hour." 

"Thanks very much." 

Cayley nodded and turned to go into the house. 
Antony took hold of Bill's arm and walked of? with 
him in the opposite direction. 

Ohaptkb vn 

THEY walked in silence for a little, until they 
had left the house and gardens well behind them. 
In front of them and to the right the park dipped 
and then rose slowly, shutting out the rest of the 
world. A thick belt of trees on the left divided 
them from the main road. 

"Ever been here before?" said Antony suddenly. 

"Oh, rather. Dozens of times." 

"I meant just here — where we are now. Or do 
you stay indoors and play billiards all the time?" 

"Oh lord, no!" 

"Well, tennis and things. So many people with 
beautiful parks never by any chance use them, and 
all the poor devils passing by on the dusty road think 
how lucky the owners are to have them, and imagine 
them doing all sorts of jolly things inside." He 
pointed to the right. "Ever been over there?" 

Bill laughed, as if a little ashamed. 

"Well, not very much. I've often been along here, 
of course, because it's the short way to the village." 



"Tea. . . . All right; now tell me something 
about Mark." 

"What sort of things?" 

"Well, never mind about his being your host, or 
about your being a perfect gentleman, or anything 
like that. Cut out the Manners for Men, and tell 
me what you think of Mark, and how you like stay- 
ing with him, and how many rows your little house- 
party has had this week, and how you get on with 
Cayley, and all the rest of it." 

Bill looked at him eagerly. 

"I say, are you being the complete detective V 

"Well, I wanted a new profession," smiled the 

"What fun ! I mean," he corrected himself apolo- 
getically, "one oughtn't to say that, when there's a 

man dead in the house, and one's host " He 

broke off a little uncertainly, and then rounded off 
his period by saying again, "By Jove, what a rum 
show it is. Good Lord!" 

"Well?" said Antony. "Carry on. Mark." 

"What do I think of him?" 


Bill was silent, wondering how to put into words 
thoughts which had never formed themselves very 
definitely in his own mind. What did he think of 
Mark ? Seeing his hesitation, Antony said : 

"I ought to have warned you that nothing that you 
say will be taken down by the reporters, so you 
needn't bother about a split infinitive or two. Talk 


about anything yon like, how you like. Well, I'll 
give you a start. Which do you enjoy more — a week- 
end here or at the Barrington's, say?" 

"Well, of course, that would depend " 

"Take it that she was there in both cases." 

"Ass," said Bill, putting an elbow into Antony's 
ribs. "It's a little difficult to say," he went on. "Of 
course they do you awfully well here." 


"Yes. I don't think I know any house where 
things are so comfortable. One's room — the food — 
drinks — cigars — the way everything's arranged. All 
that sort of thing. They look after you awfully 


"Yes." He repeated it slowly to himself, as if it 
had given him a new idea: "They look after you 
awfully well. Well, that's just what it is about 
Mark. That's one of his little ways. Weaknesses. 
Looking after you." 

"Arranging things for you?" 

"Yes. Of course, ifs a delightful house, and 
there's plenty to do, and opportunities for every 
game or sport that's ever been invented, and, as I 
say, one gets awfully well done; but with it all, 
Tony, there's a faint sort of feeling that — well, that 
one is on parade, as it were. You've got to do as 
you're told." 

"How do you mean?" 

"Well, Mark fancies himself rather at arranging 


things. He arranges things, and it's understood that 
the guests fall in with the arrangement. For in- 
stance, Betty — Miss Calladine — and I were going 
to play a single just before tea, the other day. 
Tennis. She's frightfully hot stuff at tennis, and 
backed herself to take me on level. I'm rather 
erratic, you know. Mark saw us going out with our 
rackets and asked us what we were going to do. 
Well, he'd got up a little tournament for us after 
tea — handicaps all arranged by him, and everything 
ruled out neatly in red and black ink — prizes and 
all — quite decent ones, you know. He'd had the 
lawn specially cut and marked for it. Well, of 
course Betty and I wouldn't have spoilt the court, 
and we'd have been quite ready to play again after 
tea — I had to give her half-fifteen according to his 

handicap — but somehow " Bill stopped and 

shrugged his shoulders. 

"It didn't quite fit in?" 

"No. It spoilt the effect of his tournament Took 
the edge off it just a little, I suppose he felt. So 
we didn't play." He laughed, and added, "It would 
have been as much as our place was worth to have 

"Do you mean you wouldn't have been asked here 

"Probably. Well, I don't know. Not for some 
time, anyway." 

"Really, Bill?" 

"Oh, rather I He's a devil for taking offence. That 


Miss Norris — did you see her — she's done for her- 
self. I don't mind betting what yon like that she 
never comes here again." 


Bill laughed to himself. 

"We were all in it, really — at least, Betty and I 
were. There's supposed to he a ghost attached to the 
house. Lady Anne Patten. Ever heard of her ?" 


"Mark told us about her at dinner one night. He 
rather liked the idea of there being a ghost in his 
house, you know; except that he doesn't believe in 
ghosts. I think he wanted all of us to believe in 
her, and yet he was annoyed with Betty and Mrs. 
Calladine for believing in ghosts at all. Rum chap. 
Well, anyhow, Miss Norris — she's an actress, some 
actress too — dressed up as the ghost and played the 
fool a bit. And poor Mark was frightened out of 
his life. Just for a moment, you know." 

"What about the others?" 

"Well, Betty and I knew; in fact, I'd told her— 
Miss Norris I mean — not to be a silly ass. Know- 
ing Mark Mrs. Calladine wasn't there — Betty 
wouldn't let her be. As for the Major, I don't be- 
lieve anything would frighten him." 

"Where did the ghost appear ?" 

"Down by the bowling-green. Thaf s supposed to 
be its haunt, you know. We were all down there in 
the moonlight, pretending to wait for it. Do yon 
know the bowling-green?" 



"I'll show it to you after dinner." 

"I wish you would. . . . Was Mark very angry 
afterwards ?" 

"Oh, Lord, yes. Sulked for a whole day. Well, 
he's just like that" 

"Was he angry with all of you!" 

"Oh, yes — sulky, you know." 

"This morning?" 

"Oh, no. He got over it — he generally does. He's 
just like a child. That's really it, Tony; he's like 
a child in some ways. As a matter of fact, he was 
unusually Ducked with himself this morning. And 


"Rather. We all said we'd never seen him in 
such form." 

"Is he generally in form ?" 

"He's quite good company, you know, if you take 
him the right way. He's rather vain and childish — 
well, like I've been telling you — and self-important; 

but quite amusing in his way, and " Bill broke 

off suddenly. "I say, you know, it really is the limit, 
talking about your host like this." 

"Don't think of him as your host. Think of him 
as a suspected murderer with a warrant out against 

"Oh! but thafs all rot, you know." 

"It's the fact, Bill." 

"Yes, but I mean, he didn't do it He wouldn't 
murder anybody. It's a funny thing to say, but — 


well, he's not big enough for it. He'B got his faults, 
like all of us, but they aren't on that scale." 

"One can kill anybody in a childish fit of temper." 

Bill grunted assent, but without prejudice to 
Mark. "All the same," he said, "I can't believe it. 
That he would do it deliberately, I mean." 

"Suppose it was an accident, as Cayley says, 
would he lose his head and run away?" 

Bill considered for a moment 

"Yes, I really think he might, you know. He 
nearly ran away when he saw the ghost. Of course, 
that's different, rather." 

"Oh, I don't know. In each case it's a question 
of obeying your instinct instead of your reason." 

They had left the open land and were following 
a path through the bordering trees. Two abreast 
was uncomfortable, so Antony dropped behind, and 
further conversation was postponed until they were 
outside the boundary fence and in the high road. 
The road sloped gently down to the village of Wood- 
ham — a few red-roofed cottages, and the grey tower 
of a church showing above the green. 

"Well, now," said Antony, as they stepped out 
more quickly, "what about Cayley?" 

"How do you mean, what about him ?" 

"I want to see him. I can see Mark perfectly, 
thanks to you, Bill. You were wonderful. Now 
let's have Cayley's character. Cayley from within." 

Bill laughed in pleased embarrassment, and pro- 
tested that he was not a blooming novelist 


"Besides," he added, "Mark's easy. Cayley's one 
of these heavy, quiet people, who might be thinking 
about anything. Mark gives himself away. . . . 
Ugly, black-jawed devil, isn't he?" 

"Some women like that type of ugliness." 

"Yes, that's true. Between ourselves, I think 
there's one here who does. Bather a pretty girl at 
Jallands" — he waved his left hand — "down that 

"What's Jallands?" 

"Well, I suppose it used to be a farm, belonging 
to a bloke called Jalland, but now it's a country 
cottage belonging to a widow called Norbury. Mark 
and Cayley used to go there a good deal together. 
Miss Norbury — the girl — has been here once or twice 
for tennis; seemed to prefer Cayley to the rest of 
us. But of course he hadn't much time for that sort 
of thing." 

"What sort of thing?" 

"Walking about with a pretty girl and asking 
her if she's been to any theatres lately. He nearly 
always had something to do." 

"Mark kept him busy?" 

"Yes. Mark never seemed quite happy unless he 
had Cayley doing something for him. He was quite 
lost and helpless without him. And, funnily enough, 
Cayley seemed lost without Mark." 

"He was fond of" him?" 

"Yes, I should say so. In a protective kind of 
way. He'd sized Mark up, of course — his vanity, 


kia self-importance, his amateurishness and all the 
rest of it — bnt he liked looking after him. And he 
knew how to manage him." 

"Yes. . . . What sort of terms was he on with 
the guests — you and Miss Norris and all of them V 

"Just polite and rather silent, you know. Keep- 
ing himself to himself. We didn't see so very much 
of him, except at meals. We were here to enjoy 
ourselves, and — well, he wasn't" 

"He wasn't there when the ghost walked ?" 

"No. I heard Mark calling for him when he went 
back to the house. I expect Cayley stroked down 
his feathers a bit, and told him that girls will 
be girls. . . . Hallo, here we are." 

They went into the inn, and while Bill made him- 
self pleasant to the landlady, Antony went upstairs 
to his room. It appeared that he had not very much 
packing to do, after all. He returned his brushes 
to his bag, glanced round to see that nothing else 
had been taken out, and went down again to settle 
his bill. He had decided to keep on his room for a 
few days; partly to save the landlord and his wife 
the disappointment of losing a guest so suddenly, 
partly in case he found it undesirable later on to 
remain at the Bed House. For he was taking him- 
self seriously (while getting all the fun out of it 
which was possible) at every .new profession he 
adopted ; and he felt that there might come a time — 
after the inquest, say — when he could not decently 
remain at the Bed House as a guest, a friend of 


Bill's enjoying the hospitality of Mark or Cayley, 
whichever was to be regarded as his host, without 
forfeiting his independent attitude towards the 
erents of that afternoon. At present he was staying 
in the house merely as a necessary witness, and, since 
he was there, Cayley could not object to him using 
his eyes; but if, after the inquest, it appeared that 
there was still work for a pair of independent and 
very keen eyes to do, then he must investigate, either 
with his host's approval or from beneath the roof of 
some other host; the landlord of the "George," for 
instance, who had no feelings in the matter. 

For of one thing Antony was certain. Cayley 
knew more than he professed to know. That is to 
say, he knew more than he wanted other people to 
know he knew. Antony was one of the "other 
people" ; if, therefore, he was for trying to find out 
what it was that Cayley knew, he could hardly ex- 
pect Cayley's approval of his labours. It would be 
the "George," then, for Antony after the inquest 

What was the truth ? Not necessarily discredit- 
able to Cayley, even though he were hiding some- 
thing. All that could be said against him at the 
moment was that he had gone the longest way round 
to get into the locked office — and that this did not 
fit in with what he had told the inspector. But it 
did fit in with the theory that he had been an ac- 
cessory after the event, and that he wanted (while 
appearing to be in a hurry) to give his cousin as 
much time as possible in which to escape. That 


might sot be the true eolation, but it was at least a 
workable one. The theory which he had suggested 
to the inspector was not 

However, there would he a day or two before the 
inquest, in which Antony could consider all these 
matters from within the Red House. The car was 
at the door. He got in with Bill, the landlord put 
his bag on the front seat next to the chauffeur, and 
they drove back. 



ANTONY'S bedroom looked over the park at the 
back of the house. The blinds were not yet 
drawn while he was changing his clothes for dinner, 
and at various stages of undress he .would pause and 
gaze out of the window, sometimes smiling to him- 
self, sometimes frowning, as he turned over in his 
mind all the strange things that he had seen that 
day. He was sitting on his bed, in shirt and trous- 
ers, absently smoothing down his thick black hair 
with his brushes, when Bill shouted an "Hallo!" 
through the door, and came in. 

"I say, buck up, old boy, I'm hungry," he said 

Antony stopped smoothing himself and looked up 
at hire thoughtfully. 

"Where's Mark?" he said. 

"Mark ? You mean Cayley." 

Antony corrected himself with a little laugh. 
"Yes, I mean Cayley. Is he down ? I say, I shan't 
be a moment, BUI." He got up from the bed and 
want on briskly with his dressing. 



"Oh, by the way," said Bill, taking his place on 
the bed, "your idea about the keys is a wash-out" 

"Why, how do you mean?" 

"I went down just now and had a look at them. 
We were asses not to have thought of it when we 
came in. The library key is outside, but all the 
others are inside." 

"Yes, I know." 

"You devil, I suppose you did think of it, then V 

"I did, Bill," said Antony apologetically. 

"Bother! I hoped you'd forgotten. Well, that 
knocks your theory on the head, doesn't it?" 

"I never had a theory. I only said that if they 
were outside, it would probably mean that the office 
key was outside, and that in that case Cayley's theory 
was knocked on the head," 

"Well, now, it isn't, and we don't know anything. 
Some were outside and some inside, and there you 
are. It makes it much less exciting. When you 
were talking about it on the lawn, I really got quite 
keen on the idea of the key being outside and Mark 
taking it in with him." 

"It's going to be exciting enough," said Antony 
mildly, as he transferred his pipe and tobacco into 
the pocket of his black coat "Well, let's come 
down; I'm ready now." 

Cayley was waiting for them in the hall. He 
made some polite inquiry as to the guest's comfort, 
and the three of them fell into a casual conversation 


about houses in general and the Bed House in par- 

"Yon were quite right about tie keys," ;said Bill, 
during a pause. He was less able than the other 
two, perhaps because he was younger than they, to 
keep away from the subject which was uppermost 
in the minds of them all. 

"Keys?" said Cayley blankly. 

"We were wondering whether they were outside 
or inside." 

"Oh ! oh, yes !" He looked slowly round the hall, 
at the different doors, and then smiled in a friendly 
way at Antony. "We both seem to have been right, 
Mr. Gillingham. So we don't get much farther." 

"No." He gave a shrug. "I just wondered, you 
know. I thought it was worth mentioning." 

"Oh, quite. Not that you would have convinced 
me, you know. Just as Elsie's evidence doesn't con- 
vince me." 

"Elsie?" said Bill excitedly. Antony looked in- 
quiringly at him, wondering who Elsie was. 

"One of the housemaids," explained Cayley. "Ton 
didn't hear what she told the inspector ? Of course, 
as I told Birch, girls of that class make things up, 
but he seemed to think she was genuine." 

"What was it?" said Bill. 

Cayley told them of what Elsie had heard through 
tike office door that afternoon. 

"You were in the library then, of course," said 
Antony, rather to himself than to the other. "She 


might have gone through the hall without jour hear- 

"Oh, I've no doubt she was there, and heard voices. 

Perhaps heard those very words. But " He 

broke off, and then added impatiently, "It was acci- 
dental. I know it was accidental. What's the good 
of talking as if Mark was a murderer?" Dinner 
was announced at that moment, and as they went in, 
he added, "What's the good of talking about it at 
all, if it comes to that?" 

"What, indeed ?" said Antony, and to Bill's great 
disappointment they talked of books and politics 
during the meal 

Cayley made an excuse for leaving them as soon 
as their cigars were alight. He had business to at- 
tend to, as was natural. Bill would look after his 
friend. Bill was only too willing. He offered to 
beat Antony at billiards, to play him at piquet, to 
show him lie garden by moonlight, or indeed to do 
anything else with him that he required. 

"Thank the Lord you're here," he said piously. 
"I couldn't have stood it alone." 

"Let'B go outside," suggested Antony. "It'B quite 
warm. Somewhere where we can sit down, right 
away from the house. I want to talk to you." 

"Good man. What about the bowling-green?" 

"Oh, you were going to show me that, anyhow, 
weren't you? Is it somewhere where we can talk 
without being overheard?" 

"Rather. The ideal place. You'll sea" 


They came out of the front door and followed the 
drive to the left Coming from Woodham, Antony 
had approached the house that afternoon from the 
other side. The way they were going now would take 
them out at the opposite end of the park, on the high 
road to Stanton, a country town tome three miles 
away. They passed by a gate and a gardener's lodge, 
which marked the limit of what auctioneers like to 
call "the ornamental grounds of the estate," and then 
the open park was before them. 

"Sure we haven't missed it?" said Antony. The 
park lay quietly in the moonlight on either side of 
the drive, wearing a little way ahead of them a de- 
ceptive air of smoothness which retreated always as 
they advanced. 

"Bum, isn't it?" said Bill. "An absurd place for 
a bowling-green, but I suppose it was always here." 

"Yes, but always where? It's short enough for 
golf, perhaps, but — Hallo!" 

They had come to the place. The road bent round 
to the right, but they kept straight on over a broad 
grass path for twenty yards, and there in front of 
them was the green. A dry ditch, ten feet wide and 
six feet deep, surrounded it, except in the one place 
where the path went forward. Two or three grass 
steps led down to the green, on which there was a 
long wooden bench for the benefit of spectators. 

"Yes, it hides itself very nicely," said Antony. 
"Where do you keep the bowls?" 

"In a sort of summer-house place. Bound here." 


They walked along the edge of the green until 
they came to it — a low wooden bonk which had been 
built into one wall of the ditch. 

"B?m. Jolly view." 

Bill laughed. 

"Nobody sits there. If s just for keeping things 
out of the rain." 

They finished their circuit of the green — "Just 
in case anybody's in the ditch," said Antony — and 
then sat down on the bench. 

"Now then," said Bill, "We are alone. Fire 

Antony smoked thoughtfully for a little. Then 
he took his pipe out of his mouth and turned to his 

"Are you prepared to be the complete Watson t" 
he asked. 


"Do-you-f ollow-me-Watson ; that one. Are you 
prepared to have quite obvious things explained to 
you, to ask futile questions, to give me chances of 
scoring off you, to make brilliant discoveries of your 
own two or three days after I have made them my- 
self — all that kind of thing? Because it all helps." 

"My dear Tony," said Bill delightedly, "need you 
ask?" Antony said nothing, and Bill went on 
happily to himself, "I perceive from the strawberry- 
mark on your shirt-front that you had strawberries 
for dessert Holmes, you astonish me. Tut, tat, 
you know my methods. Where is the tobacco? The 


tobacco is in the Persian slipper. Can I leave my 
practice for a week? I can." 

Antony smiled and went on smoking. After wait- 
ing hopefully for a minute or two, Bill said in a 
firm voice: 

"Well then, Holmes, I feel bound to ask you if 
you have deduced anything. Also whom do you 
suspect ?" 

Antony began to talk. 

"Do you remember," he said, "one of Holmes's 
little scores over Watson about the number of steps 
up to the Baker Street lodging? Poor old Watson 
had been up and down them a thousand times, but 
he had never thought of counting them, whereas 
Holmes had counted them as a matter of course, and 
knew that there were seventeen. And that was sup- 
posed to be the difference between the observation and 
non-observation. Watson was crushed again, and 
Holmes appeared to him more amazing than ever. 
Now, it always seemed to me that in that matter 
Holmes was the ass, and Watson the sensible person. 
What on earth is the point of keeping in your head 
an unnecessary fact like that? If you really want 
to know at any time the number of steps to your 
lodging, you can ring up your landlady and ask her. 
I've been up and down the steps of the club a thou- 
sand times, but if you asked me to tell you at this 
moment how many steps there are I couldn't do it 
Could you?" 

"I certainly couldn't," said Bill 


"But if you really wanted to know," said Antony 
casually, with a sudden change of voice, "I could 
find out for you without even bothering to ring up 
the hall-porter." 

Bill was puzzled as to why they were talking 
about the club steps, but he felt it his duty to say 
that he did want to know how many they were. 

"Bight," said Antony. 'Til find out" 

He closed his eyes. 

"I'm walking up St. James' Street," he said 
slowly. "Now I've come to the club and I'm going 
past the smoking-room windows — one — two — three — 
four. Now I'm at the steps. I turn in and begin 
going up them. One — two — three — four — five — six, 
then a broad step ; six — seven — eight — nine, another 
broad step ; nine — ten — eleven. Eleven — I'm inside. 
Good morning, Bogers. Tine day again." With a 
little start he opened his eyes and came back again 
to his present surroundings. He turned to Bill with 
a smile. "Eleven," he said. "Count them the next 
time you're there. Eleven — and now I hope I shall 
forget it again." 

Bill was distinctly interested. 

"That's rather hot," he said. "Expound." 

"Well, I can't explain it, whether it's something 
in the actual eye, or something in the brain, or what, 
but I have got rather an uncanny habit of record- 
ing things unconsciously. You know that game 
where you look at a tray full of small objects for 
three minutes, and then turn away and try to make 


a list of them. It means a devil of a lot of concen- 
tration for the ordinary person, if he wants to get 
his list complete, but in some odd way I manage to 
do it without concentration at all. I mean that my 
eyes seem to do it without the brain consciously tak- 
ing any part I could look at the tray, for instance, 
and talk to you about golf at the same time, and still 
get my list right." 

"I should think that's rather a useful gift for an 
amateur detective. You ought to have gone into the 
profession before." 

"Well, it is rather useful. It's rather surprising, 
you know, to a stranger. Let's surprise Cayley with 
it, shall we?" 


"Well, let's ask him " Antony stopped and 

looked at Bill comically — "lef s ask him what he's 
going to do with the key to the office." 

For a moment Bill did not understand. 

"Key of the office ?" he said vaguely. "You don't 
mean — Tony I What do you mean? Good God I 
do you mean that Cayley — But what about Mark ?" 

"I don't know where Mark is — that's another 
thing I want to know — but I'm quite certain that he 
hasn't got the key of the office with him. Because 
Cayley's got it" j 

"Are you sure I" 


Bill looked at him wonderingly. 

"I say," he said, almost pleadingly, "don't tell me 


that you can see into people's pockets and all that 
sort of thing — as well." 

Antony laughed and denied it cheerfully. 

"Then how do you know?" 

"You're the perfect Watson, Bill. You take to 
it quite naturally. Properly speaking, I oughtn't to 
explain till the last chapter, but I always think that 
that's so unfair. So here goes. Of course, I don't 
really know that he's got it, but I do know that he 
had it. I know that when I came on him this after • 
noon, he had just locked the door and put the key 
in his pocket" 

'You mean you saw him at the time, but that 
you've only just remembered it — reconstructed it — 
in the way you were explaining just now?" 

"No. I didn't see him. Eut I did see something. 
I saw the key of the billiard-room." 


"Outside the billiard-room door." 

"Oulsidef But it was inside when we looked just 


"Who put it there V* 

"Obviously Cayley." 

«But " 

"Let's go back to this afternoon. I don't remem- 
ber noticing the billiard-room key at the time; I 
must have done so without knowing. Probably when 
I saw Cayley banging at the door I may have won- 
dered subconsciously whether the key of the room 


next to it would fit Something like that, I daresay. 
Well, when I was sitting out by myself on that seat 
just before you came along, I went over the whole 
scene in my mind, and I suddenly saw the billiard- 
room key there — outside. And I began to wonder 
if the office-key had been outside too. When Cayley 
came up, I told you my idea and you were both in- 
terested. But Cayley was just a shade too interested. 
I daresay you didn't notice it, but he was." 

"By Jove!" 

"Well, of course that proved nothing; and the key 
business didn't really prove anything, because what- 
ever side of the door the other keys were, Mark 
might have locked his own private room from the 
inside sometimes. But I piled it on, and pretended 
that it was enormously important, and quite altered 
the case altogether, and having got Cayley thorough- 
ly anxious about it, I told him that we should be 
well out of the way for the next hour or so, and 
that he would be alone in the house to do what he 
liked about it. And, as I expected, he couldn't re- 
list. He altered the keys and gave himself away 

"But the library key was still outside. Why 
didn't he alter that?" 

"Because he's a clever devil. For one thing, the 
inspector had been in the library, and might pos- 
sibly have noticed it already. And for another " 

Antony hesitated. 

"What!" said Bill, after waiting for him to go on. 


'It's only guesswork. But I fancy that Cayley 
was thoroughly upset about the key business. He 
suddenly realized that he had been careless, and he 
hadn't got time to think it all over. So he didn't 
want to commit himself definitely to the statement 
that the key was either outside or inside. . He wanted 
to leave it vague. It was safest that way." 

"I see," said Bill slowly. 

But his mind was elsewhere. He was wondering 
suddenly about Cayley. Cayley was just an ordi- 
nary man — like himself. Bill had had little jokes 
with him sometimes ; not that Cayley was much of a 
hand at joking. Bill had helped him to sausages, 
played tennis with him, borrowed his tobacco, lent 
him a putter. . . . and here was Antony saying that 
he was — what? Well, not an ordinary man, any- 
way. A man with a secret Perhaps a — a murderer. 
No, not a murderer; not Cayley. That was rot, any- 
way. Why, they had played tennis together. 

"Now then, Watson," said Antony suddenly. "It's 
time you said something." 

"I say, Tony, do you really mean it?" 

"Mean what?" 

"About Cayley." 

"I mean what I said, Bill. No more." 

"Well, what does it amount to?" 

"Simply that Bobert Ablett died in the office this 
afternoon, and that Cayley knows exactly how he 
died. That's alL It doesn't follow that Cayley 
killed him." 


TNo. No, of course it doesn't" Bill gave a sigh 
of relief. "He's just shielding. Mark, what I" 

"I wonder." 

"Well, isn't that the simplest explanation I" 

"It's the simplest if you're a friend of Cayley and 
want to let him down lightly. But then I'm not, 
you see," 

"Why isn't it simple, anyhow?" 

"Well, let's have the explanation then, and I'll 
undertake to give you a simpler one afterwards. Go 
on. Only remember — the key is on the outside of 
the door to start with." 

"Yes; well, I don't mind that. Mark goes in to 
see his brother, and they quarrel and all the rest of 
it, just as Cayley was saying. Cayley hears the shot, 
and in order to give Mark time to get away, locks 
the door, puts the key in his pocket and pretends 
that Mark has locked the door, and that he can't 
get in. How's that?" 

"Hopeless, Watson, hopeless." 


"How does Cayley know that it is Mark who has 
shot Robert, and not the other way round ?" 

"Oh!" said Bill, rather upset "Yes." He 
thought for a moment. "All right Say that Cay- 
ley has gone into the room first, and seen Robert on 
the ground." 


"Well, there you are." 

"And what does he say to Mark ? That it's a fine 


afternoon, and could he lend Kim a pocket-handker- 
chief f Or does he ask him /what's happened?" 

"Well, of course, I suppose he asks what hap- 
pened," said Bill reluctantly. 

"And what does Mark say?" 

"Explains that the revolver went off accidentally 
during a struggle." 

"Whereupon Cayley shields him by — by doing 
what, Bill ? Encouraging him to do the damn silliest 
thing that any man could possibly do — confess his 
guilt by running away!" 

"No, that's rather hopeless, isn't it ?" Bill thought 
again. "Well," he said reluctantly, "suppose Mark 
confessed that he'd murdered his brother?" 

"That's better, Bill. Don't be afraid of getting 
away from the accident idea. Well then, your now 
theory is this. Mark confesses to Cayley that he 
shot Robert on purpose, and Cayley decides, even at 
the risk of committing perjury, and getting into the 
trouble himself, to help Mark to escape. Is that 

Bill nodded. 

"Well then, I want to ask you two questions. 
First, is it possible, as I said before dinner, that any 
man would commit such an idiotic murder* — a mur- 
der that puts the rope so very tightly round his neck I 
Secondly, if Cayley is prepared to perjure himself 
for Mark (as he has to, anyway, now), wouldn't it 
be simpler for him to say that he was in the office all 
the time, and that Robert's death was accidental I" 


Bill considered this carefully, and then nodded 
slowly again. 

"Yes, my simple explanation is a wash-out,'' he 
said. "Now let's have yours." 

Antony did not answer him. He had begun to 
think about something quite different 



WHAT'S the matter?" said Bill sharply. 
Antony looked round at him with raised 

"You've thought of something suddenly," said 
Bill. "What is it*" 

Antony laughed. 

"My dear Watson," he said, "yon aren't supposed 
to he as clever as this." 

"Oh, you can't take me in I" 

"No. . . . Well, I was wondering about this ghost 
of yours, Bill. It seems to me " 

"Oh, that!" Bill was profoundly disappointed. 
"What on earth has the ghost got to do with it?" 

"I don't know," said Antony apologetically. "I 
don't know what anything has got to do with it I 
was just wondering. You shouldn't have brought 
me here if you hadn't wanted me to think about the 
ghost. This is where she appeared, isn't it?" 

"Yes." Bill was distinctly short about it 




"I said, 'How!'" 

"How? How do ghosts appear? I don't know. 
They just appear." 

"Over four or fir* hundred yards of open park ?" 

"Well, but she had to appear here, because this is 
where the original one — Lady Anne, you know — was 
supposed to walk." 

"Oh, never mind Lady Anne! A real ghost can 
do anything. But how did Miss Norris appear sud- 
denly — over five hundred yards of bare park ?" 

Bill looked at Antony with open mouth. 

"I — I don't know," he stammered. "We never 
thought of that 

"You would have seen her long before, wouldn't 
you, if she had come the way we came?" 

"Of course we should." 

"And that would have spoilt it rather. You would 
have had time to recognize her walk." 

Bill was interested now. 

"Thaf s rather funny, you know, Tony. We none 
of us thought of that." 

"You're sure she didn't come across the park 
when none of you were looking ?" 

"Quite. Because, you see, Betty and I were ex- 
pecting her, and we kept looking round in case we 
saw her, so that we should all be playing with our 
backs to her. 

"You and Miss Calladine were playing together?" 

"I say, however do you know that?" 


"Brilliant deductive reasoning. Well, then you 
suddenly saw her?" 

"Yes, she walked across that side of the lawn." 
He indicated the opposite side, nearer to the house. 

"She couldn't have been hiding in the ditch! Do 
you call it the moat, by the way ?" 

"Mark does. We don't among ourselves. No, she 
couldn't Betty and I were here before the others, 
and walked round a bit. We should have seen her." 

"Then she must have been hiding in the shed. Or 
do you call it the summer-house?" 

"We had to go there for the bowls, of course. She 
eouldn't have been there." 


"It's dashed funny," said Bill, after an interval 
for thought "But it doesn't matter, does it ? It has 
nothing to do with Kobert" 

"Hasn't it?" 

"I say, has it?" said Bill, getting excited again. 

"I don't know. We don't know what has, or what 
hasn't But it has got something to do with Miss 

Norris. And Miss Norris " He broke off 


"What about her?" 

''Well, you're all in it in a kind of way. And if 
something unaccountable happens to one of you a 
day or two before something unaccountable happens 
to the whole house, one is — well, interested." It was 
a good enough reason, but it wasn't the reason he 
had been on the point of giving. 


"I see. Well!" 

Antony knocked out hii pipe and got up slowly. 

"Well then, let's find the way from the house by 
which Miss Norris came." 

Bill jumped up eagerly. 

"By Jove! Do you mean there's a secret pas- 

"A secluded passage, anyway. There must be." 

"I say, what fun ! I love secret passages. Good 
lord, and this afternoon I was playing golf just like 
an ordinary merchant! What a life! Secret pas- 
sages !" 

They made their way down into the ditch. If an 
opening was to be found which led to the house, it 
would probably be on the house side of the green, 
and on the outside of the ditch. The most obvious 
place at which to begin the search was the shed 
where the bowls were kept. It was a tidy place — as 
anything in Mark's establishment would be. There 
were two boxes of croquet things, one of them with 
the lid open, as if the balls and mallets and hoops 
(neatly enough put away, though) had been recently 
used; a box of bowls, a small lawn-mower, a roller 
and so forth. A seat ran along the hack of it, where- 
on the bowls-players could sit when it rained. 

Antony tapped the wall at the back. 

"This is where the passage ought to begin. It 
doesn't sound very hollow, does it?" 

"It needn't begin here at all, need it ?" said Bill, 
walking round with bent head, and tapping the other 


walla. He was just too tall to stand upright in the 

"There's only one reason why it should, and that 
is that it would save us the trouble of looking any- 
where else for it. Surely Mark didn't let you play 
croquet on his bowling-green?" He pointed to the 
croquet things. 

"He didn't encourage it at one time, but this year 
he got rather keen about it. There's really nowhere 
else to play. Personally I hate the game. He wasn't 
very keen on bowls, you know, but he liked calling 
it the bowling-green, and surprising his visitors with 

Antony laughed. 

"I love you on Mark," he said. "You're price- 

He began to feel in his pockets for his pipe and 
tobacco, and then suddenly stopped and stiffened to 
attention. For a moment he stood listening, with 
his head on one side, holding up a finger to bid Bill 
listen too. 

"What is it?" whispered Bill. 

Antony waved him to silence, and remained listen- 
ing. Very quietly he went down on his knees, and 
listened again. Then he put his ear to the floor. 
He got up and dusted himself quickly, walked across 
to Bill and whispered in his ear: 

"Footsteps. Somebody coming. When I begin 
to talk, back me up. 

Bill nodded. Antony gave him an encouraging 


pat on the back, and stepped firmly across to the 
box of bowls, whistling loudly to himself. He took 
the bowls out, dropped one with a loud bang on the 
floor, said, "Oh, Lord!" and went on: 

"I say, Bill, I don't think I want to play bowls, 
after all." 

"Well, why did you say you did V grumbled Bill. 

Antony flashed a smile of appreciation at him. 

"Well, I wanted to when I said I did, and now I 
don't want to." 

"Then what do you want to do?" 


"Oh, right-o/" said Bill eagerly. 

"There's a seat on the lawn — I saw it. Let's 
bring these things along in case we want to play, 
after all." 

"Right-o I" said Bill again. He felt safe with 
that, not wishing to commit himself until he knew 
what he was wanted to say. 

As they went across the lawn, Antony dropped the 
bowls and took out his pipe. 

"Got a match ?" he said loudly. 

As he bent his head over the match, he whispered, 
"There'll be somebody listening to us. You take the 
Cayley view," and then went on in his ordinary 
voice, "I don't think much of your matches, Bill," 
and struck another. They walked over to the seat 
and sat down. 

,f What a heavenly night!" said Antony. 



"I wonder where that poor devil Mark is now." 

"It's a rum business." 

"You agree with Cayley — that it was an acci- 

"Yes. You see, I know Mark" 

"H'm." Antony produced a pencil and a piece 
of paper and began to write on his knee, but while 
he wrote, he talked. He said that he thought Mark 
had shot his brother in a fit of anger, and that Cay- 
ley knew, or anyhow guessed, this, and had tried to 
give his cousin a chance of getting away. 

"Mind you, I think he's right. I think it's what 
any of us would do. I shan't give it away, of course, 
but somehow there are one or two little things which 
make me think that Mark really did shoot his brother 
— I mean other than accidentally." 

"Murdered him?" 

"Well, manslaughtered him, anyway. I may be 
wrong. Anyway, it's not my business." 

"But why do you think so ? Because of the keys ?" 

"Oh, the keys are a wash-out Still, it was a 
brilliant idea of mine, wasn't it? And it would 
have been rather a score for me if they had all been 

He had finished his writing, and now passed the 
paper over to Bill. In the clear moonlight the care- 
fully printed letters could easily be read: 




"I know you don't agree with me," Antony went 
on as Bill read, "but you'll see that I'm right." 

Bill looked up and nodded eagerly. He had for- 
gotten golf and Betty and all the other things which 
had made up his world lately. This was the real 
thing. This was life. 

"Well," he began deliberately, "the whole point 
is that I know Mark. Now, Mark " 

But Antony was off the seat and letting him- 
self gently down into the ditch. His intention was 
to crawl round it until the shed came in sight. The 
footsteps which he had heard seemed to be under- 
neath the shed; probably there was a trap-door of 
some kind ia the floor. Whoever it was would have 
heard their voices, and would probably think it 
worth while to listen to what they were saying. He 
might do this merely by opening the door a little 
without showing himself, in which case Antony 
would have found the entrance to the passage with- 
out any trouble to himself. But when Bill turned 
his head and talked over the back of the seat, it was 
probable that the listener would find it necessary to 
put his head outside in order to hear, and then 
Antony would be able to discover who it was. More- 
over, if he should venture out of his hiding-place 
altogether and peep at them over the top of the bank, 
the fact that Bill was talking over the back of the 


Beat would mislead the watcher into thinking that 
Antony was still there, sitting on the grass, no doubt, 
behind the seat, swinging his legs over the side of 
the ditch. 

He walked quickly but very silently along the 
half-length of the bowling-green to the first corner, 
passed cautiously round, and then went even more 
carefully along the width of it to the second corner. 
He could hear Bill hard at it, arguing from his 
knowledge of Mark's character that this, that and 
the other must have happened, and he smiled ap- 
preciatively to himself. Bill was a great conspirator 
-■ — worth a hundred Watsons. As he approached the 
second corner he slowed down, and did the last few 
yards on hands and knees. Then, lying at full 
length, inch by inch his head went round the corner. 

The shed was two or three yards to his left, on 
the opposite side of the ditch. From where he lay 
he could see almost entirely inside it. Everything 
seemed to be as they left it. The bowls-box, the 
lawn-mower, the roller, the open croquet-box, the 

"By Jove!" said Antony to himself, "that's 

The lid of the other croquet-box was open, too. 

Bill was turning round now; his voice became 
more difficult to hear. "You see what I mean," he 
was saying. "If Cayley " 

And out of the second croquet-box came Cayley's 
black head. 

Antony wanted to shout his applause. It was neat, 


devilish neat For a moment he gazed, fascinated, 
at that wonderful new kind of croquet-ball which 
had appeared so dramatically out of the box, and 
then reluctantly wriggled himself back. There was 
nothing to be gained by staying there, and a good 
deal to be lost, for Bill showed signs of running 
down. As quickly as he could Antony hurried round 
the ditch and took up his place at the back of the 
seat. Then he stood up with a yawn, stretched him- 
self and said carelessly, "Well, don't worry yourself 
about it, Bill, old man. I daresay you're right. You 
know Mark, and I don't; and that's the difference. 
Shall we have a game or shall we go to bed ?" 

Bill looked at him for inspiration, and, receiving 
it, said, "Oh, just let's have one game, shall we I" 

"Right you are," said Antony. 

But Bill was much too excited to take the game 
which followed very seriously. Antony, on the other 
hand, seemed to be thinking of nothing but bowls. 
He played with great deliberation for ten minutes, 
and then announced that he was going to bed. Bill 
looked at him anxiously. 

"If s all right," laughed Antony. "You can talk 
if you want to. Just lefs put 'em away first, 

They made their way down to the shed, and while 
Bill was putting the bowls away, Antony tried the 
lid of the closed croquet-box. As he expected, it was 

"Now then," said Bill, as they were walking back 


to the house again, "I'm simply bursting to know. 
Who was it?" 


"Good Lord! Where?" 

"Inside one of the croquet-boxes." 

"Don't be an ass." 

"If s quite true, Bill." He told the other what 
he had seen. 

"But aren't we going to have a look at it ?" asked 
Bill, in great disappointment. "I'm longing to ex- 
plore. Aren't you?" 

"To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow. We 
shall see Cayley coming along this way directly. Be- 
sides, I want to get in from the other end, if I can. 
I doubt very much if we can do it this end without 
giving ourselves away. . . . Look, there's Cayley." 

They could see him coming along the drive to- 
wards them. When they were a little closer, they 
waved to him and he waved back. 

"I wondered where you were," he said, as he got 
up to them. "I rather thought you might be along 
this way. What about bed ?" 

"Bed it is," said Antony. 

"We've been playing bowls," added Bill, "and 
talking, and — and playing bowls. Kipping night, 
isn't it?" 

But he left the rest of the conversation, as they 
wandered back to the house, to Antony. He wanted 
to think. There seemed to be no doubt now that 
Cayley was a villain. Bill had never been familial 


with a villain before. It didn't seem quite fair of 
Cayley, somehow; he was taking rather a mean ad- 
vantage of his friends. Lot of funny people there 
were in the world — funny people with secrets. Look 
at Tony, that first time he had met him in a tobac- 
conist's shop. Anybody would have thought he was 
a tobacconist's assistant. And Cayley. Anybody 
would have thought that Cayley was an ordinary 
decent sort of person. And Mark. Dash it I one 
could never be sure of anybody. Now, Eobert was 
different. Everybody had always said that Eobert 
was a shady fellow. . . . 

But what on earth had Miss Norris got to do 
with it? 

"What had Miss Norris got to do with it? This 
was a question which Antony had already asked him- 
self that afternoon, and it seemed to him now that 
he had found the answer. As he lay in bed that 
night he reassembled his ideas, and looked at them 
in the new light which the events of the evening 
threw upon the dark corners in his brain. 

Of course it was natural that Cayley should want 
to get rid of his guests as soon as the tragedy was 
discovered. He would want this for their own sake 
as well as for his. But he had been a little too 
quick about suggesting it, and about seeing the sug- 
gestion carried out. They had been bustled off as 
soon as they could be packed. The suggestion that 
they were in his hands, to go or stay as he wished, 
could have been left safely to them. As it was, they 


had been given no alternative, and Miss Norris, who 
had proposed to catch an after-dinner train at the 
junction, in the obvious hope that she might have in 
this a dramatic cross-examination at the hands of 
some keen-eyed detective, was encouraged tactfully, 
but quite firmly, to travel by the earlier train with 
the others. Antony had felt that Cayley, in the 
tragedy which had suddenly befallen the house, 
ought to have been equally indifferent to her presence 
or absence. But he was not; and Antony assumed 
from this that Cayley was very much alive to the 
necessity for her absence. 


Well, that question was not to be answered off- 
hand. But the fact that it was so had made Antony 
interested in her ; and it was for this reason that he 
had followed up so alertly Bill's casual mention of 
her in connexion with the dressing-up business. He 
felt that he wanted to know a little more about Miss 
Norris and the part she had played in the Bed 
House circle. By sheer luck, as it seemed to him, 
he had stumbled on the answer to his question. 

Miss Norris was hurried away because she knew 
about the secret passage. 

The passage, then, had something to do with the 
mystery of Robert's death. Miss Norris had used it 
in order to bring off her dramatic appearance as the 
ghost. Possibly she had discovered it for herself; 
possibly Mark had revealed it to her secretly one 
day, never guessing that she would make so unkind 


a use of it later on; possibly Cay ley, having been 
let into the joke of the dressing-up, had shown her 
how she could make her appearance on the bowling- 
green even more mysterious and supernatural. One 
way or another, she knew about the secret passage. 
So she must be hurried away. 

Why? Because if she stayed and talked, she 
might make some innocent mention of it And Cay- 
ley did not want any mention of it. 

Why, again ? Obviously because the passage, or 
even the mere knowledge of its existence, might 
provide a clue. 

"I wonder if Mark's hiding there," thought A» 
tony ; and he treat to sleep. 



ANTONY came down in a yery good humour 
to breakfast next morning, and found that his 
host was before him. Cayley looked up from his 
letters and nodded. 

"Any word of Mr. Ablett— of Mark?" said An- 
tony, as he poured out his coffee. 

"No. The inspector wants to drag the lake this 

"Oh! Is there a lake?" 

There was just the flicker of a smile on Cayley's 
face, hut it disappeared as quickly as it came. 

"Well, it's really a pond," he said, "but it was 
called 'the lake.' " 

"By Mark," thought Antony. Aloud he said, 
"What do they expect to find!" 

"They think that Mark " He broke o* and 

shrugged his shoulders. 

"May have drowned himself, knowing that he 
couldn't get away t And knowing that he had com- 
promised himself by trying to get away at all I" 

"Yes; I suppose so," said Cajley slowly. 



"I should have thought he would hare given him- 
self mors of a run for his money. After all, he had 
a revolver. If he was determined not to be taken 
alive, he could always have prevented that. Couldn't 
he have caught a train to London before the police 
knew anything about it?" 

"He might just have managed it. There was a 
train. They would have noticed him at Woodham, 
of course, but he might have managed it at Stanton. 
He's not so well-known there, naturally. The in- 
spector has been inquiring. Nobody seems to have 
seen him." 

"There are sure to be people who will say they 
did, later on. There was never a missing man yet 
but a dozen people come forward who swear to have 
seen him at a dozen different places at the same 

Cayley smiled. 

"Tes. That's true. Anyhow, he wants to drag 
the pond first." He added dryly, "From what I've 
read of detective stories, inspectors always do want 
to drag the pond first." 

"Is it deep?" 

"Quite deep enough," said Cayley as he got up. 
On his way to the door he stopped, and looked at 
Antony. "I'm so sorry that we're keeping you here 
like this, but it will only be until to-morrow. The 
inquest is to-morrow afternoon. Do amuse yourself 
how you like till then. Beverley will look after 


"Thanks very much. I shall really be quite all 

Antony went on with his breakfast Perhaps it 
was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but 
the question was, Did Cayleys like having them 
dragged? Was Cayley anxious about it, or quite 
indifferent? He certainly did not seem to be anx- 
ious, but he could hide his feelings very easily 
beneath that heavy, solid face, and it was not often 
that the real Cayley peeped out. Just a little too 
eager once or twice, perhaps, but there was nothing 
to be learnt from it this morning. Perhaps he knew 
that the pond had no secrets to give up. After all, 
inspectors were always dragging ponds. 

Bill came in noisily. 

Bill's face was an open book. Excitement was 
written all over it 

"Well," he said eagerly, as he sat down to the 
business of the meal, "what are we going to do this 
morning ?" 

"Not talk so loudly, for one thing," said Antony. 

Bill looked about him apprehensively. Was Cay- 
ley under the table, for example? After last night 
one never knew. 

"Is — ei* " He raised his eyebrows. 

"No. But one doesn't want to shout. One should 
modulate the voice, my dear William, while breath- 
ing gently from the hips. Thus one avoids those 
chest-notes which have betrayed many a secret. In 
other words, pass the toast" 


"Yon seem bright this morning." 

"I am. Very bright. Cayley noticed it. Cayley 
said, 'Were it not that I have other business, I would 
come gathering nuts and may with thee. Fain 
would I gyrate round the mulberry-bush and hop 
upon the little hills. But the waters of Jordan en- 
compass me and Inspector Birch tarries outside with 
his shrimping-net. My friend William Beverley will 
attend thee anon. Farewell, a long farewell to all 
thy grape-nuts.' He then left up-centre. Enter W. 
Beverley, R." 

"Are you often like this at breakfast ?" 

"Almost invariably. Said he with his mouth fulL 
Exit W. Beverley, L." 

"It's a touch of the sun, I suppose," said Bill, 
shaking his head sadly. 

"If s the sun and the moon and the stars, all act- 
ing together on an empty stomach. Do you know 
anything about the stars, Mr. Beverley? Do you 
know anything about Orion's Belt, for instance? 
And why isn't there a star called Beverley's Belt? 
Or a novel? Said he masticating. He-enter W. 
Beverley through trap-door." 

"Talking about trap-doors " 

"Don't" said Antony, getting up. "Some talk of 
Alexander and some of Hercules, but nobody talks 
about — what's the Latin for trap-door? Mensa — 
a table; you might get it from that Well, Mr. 
Beverley," — and he slapped him heartily on the back 
as he went past him — "I shall see you later. Cayley 


gays that you Trill amuse me, but so far you have 
not made me laugh once. You must try and be more 
amusing when you have finished your breakfast. 
But don't hurry. Let the upper mandibles have time 
to do the work. With those words Mr. Gillingham 
then left the spacious apartment." 

Bill continued his breakfast with a slightly be- 
wildered air. He did not know that Cayley was 
smoking a cigarette outside the windows behind him ; 
not listening, perhaps; possibly not even overhear- 
ing ; but within sight of Antony, who was not going 
to take any risks. So he went on with his break- 
fast, reflecting that Antony was a rum fellow, and 
wondering if he had dreamed only of the amazing 
things which had happened the day before. 

Antony went up to his bedroom to fetch his pipe. 
It was occupied by a housemaid, and he made a 
polite apology for disturbing her. Then he remem- 

"Is it Elsie?" he asked, giving her a friendly 

"Yes, sir," she said, shy but proud. She had no 
doubts as to why it was that she had achieved such 

"It was you who heard Mr. Mark yester- 
day, wasn't it 1 I hope the inspector was nice 
to you ?" 

"Yes, thank you, sir." 

" 'It's my turn now. You wait,' " murmured An- 
tony to himself. 


"Yes, sir. Nasty-like. Meaning to say his chance 
had come." 

"I wonder." 

"Well, that's what I heard, sir. Truly." 

Antony looked at her thoughtfully and nodded. 

"Yes. I wonder. I wonder why." 

"Why what, sir?" 

"Oh, lots of things, Elsie. ... It was quite an 
accident your being outside just then?" 

Elsie blushed. She had not forgotten what Mra. 
Stevens had said about it. 

"Quite, sir. In the general way I use the other 

"Of course." 

He had found his pipe and was about to go down- 
stairs again when she stopped him. 

"I beg your pardon, sir, but will there be an 
inquest ?" 

"Oh, yes. To-morrow, I think." 

"Shall I have to give my evidence, sir!" 

"Of course. There's nothing to be frightened of, 
you know." 

"I did hear it, sir. Truly." 

"Why, of course you did. Who says you didn't ?" 

"Some of the others, sir — Mrs. Stevens and all." 

"Oh, that's just because they're jealous," said 
Antony with a smile. 

He was glad to have spoken to her, because he had 
recognized at once the immense importance of her 
evidence. To the inspector no doubt it had seemed 


only of importance in that it had shown Mark to 
have adopted something of a threatening attitude 
towards his brother. To Antony it had much more 
significance. It was the only trustworthy evidence 
that Mark had been in the office at all that after- 

For who saw Mark go into the office ? Only Cay- 
ley. And if Cayley had been hiding the truth about 
the keys, why Bhould he not be hiding the truth 
about Mark's entry into the office? Obviously all 
Cayley's evidence went for nothing. Some of it no 
doubt was true; but he was giving it, both truth 
and falsehood, with a purpose. What the purpose 
was Antony did not know as yet; to shield Mark, 
to shield himself, even to betray Mark — it might be 
any of these. But since his evidence was given for 
his own ends, it was impossible that it could be 
treated as the evidence of an impartial and trust- 
worthy onlooker. Such, for instance, as Elsie ap- 
peared to be. 

Elsie's evidence, however, Beemed to settle the 
point. Mark had gone into the office to see his 
brother; Elsie had heard them both talking; and 
then Antony and Cayley had found the body of 
Robert . . . and the inspector was going to drag 
the pond. 

But certainly Elsie's evidence did not prove any- 
thing more than the mere presence of Mark in the 
room. "It's my turn now; you wait." That was 
not an immediate threat; it was a threat for the 


future. If Mark had shot his brother immediately 
afterwards it must have been an accident, the Tesult 
of a struggle, say, provoked by that "nasty-like" tone 
of voice. Nobody would say "You wait" to a man 
who was just going to be shot. "You wait" meant 
"You wait, and see what's going to happen to you 
later on." The owner of the Red House had had 
enough of his brother's sponging, his brother's black- 
mail ; now it was Mark's turn to get a bit of his own 
back. Let Robert just wait a bit, and he would see. 
The conversation which Elsie had overheard might 
have meant something like this. It couldn't have 
meant murder. Anyway not murder of Robert by 

"It's a funny business," thought Antony. "The 
one obvious solution is so easy and yet so wrong. 
And I've got a hundred things in my head, and I 
can't fit them together. And this afternoon will 
make a hundred and one. I mustn't forget this 

He found Bill in the hall and proposed a strolL 
Bill was only too ready. 

"Where do you want to go?" he asked. 

"I don't mind much. Show me the park." 


They walked out together. 

"Watson, old man," said Antony, as soon as they 
were away from the house, "you really mustn't talk 
go loudly indoors. There was a gentleman outside, 
juat behind you, all the time." 


"Oh, I say," said Bill, going pink. "I'm awfully 
sorry. So that's why yon. were talking such rot" 

"Partly, yes. And partly because I do feel rather 
bright this morning. We're going to have a busy 

"Are we really ? What are we going to do ?" 

"They're going to drag the pond — beg its pardon, 
the lake. Where is the lake?" 

"We're on the way to it now, if you'd like to see 

"We may as well look at it Do you haunt th« 
lake much in the ordinary way?" 

"Oh, no, rather not. There's nothing to do there." 

"You can't bathe?" 

"Well, I shouldn't care to. Too dirty." 

"I see. . . . This is the way we came yesterday, 
isn't it? The way to the village?" 
• "Yes. We go off a bit to the right directly. What 
are they dragging it for?" 


"Oh, rot," said Bill uneasily. He was silent for 
a little, and then, forgetting his uncomfortable 
thoughts in his sudden remembrance of the exciting 
times they were having, said eagerly, "I say, when 
are we going to look for that passage?" 

"We can't do very much while Cayley's in the 

"What about this afternoon when they're dragging 
the pond? He's sure to be there." 

Antony shook his head. 


"There's something I must do this afternoon," he 
said. "Of course we might have time for both." 

"Has Cayley got to be ont of the house for the 
other thing too?" 

"Well, I think he ought to be." 

"I say, is it anything rather exciting?" 

"I don't know. It might be rather interesting. I 
daresay I could do it at some other time, but I 
rather fancy it at three o'clock, somehow. I've been 
specially keeping it back for then." 

"I say, what fun 1 You do want me, don't you ?" 

"Of course I do. Only, Bill — don't talk about 
things inside the house, unless I begin. There's a 
good Watson." 

"I won't. I swear I won't." 

They had come to the pond — Mark's lake — and 
they walked silently round it When they had made 
the circle, Antony sat down on the grass, and relit 
his pipe. Bill followed his example. 

"Well, Mark isn't there," said Antony. 

"No," said Bill. "At least, I don't quite see why 
you know he isn't." 

"It isn't Trnowing,' it's 'guessing,' " said Antony 
rapidly. "It's much easier to shoot yourself than to 
drown yourself, and if Mark had wanted to shoot 
himself in the water, with some idea of not letting 
the body be found, he'd have put big stones in his 
pockets, and the only big stones are near the water's 
edge, and they would have left marks, and they 
haven't, and therefore he didn't, and — oh, bother the 


pond ; that can wait till this afternoon. Bill, where 
does the secret passage begin?" 

"Well, that's what we've got to find out, isn't it ?" 

"Yes. You see, my idea is this." 

He explained his reasons for thinking that the 
secret of the passage was concerned in some way with 
the secret of Koberfs death, and went on: 

"My theory is that Mark discovered the passage 
about a year ago — the time when he began to get 
keen on croquet. The passage came out into the 
floor of the shed, and probably it was Cayley's idea 
to put a croquet-box over the trap-door, so as to hide 
it more completely. You know, when once you've 
discovered a secret yourself, it always seems as if it 
must be so obvious to everybody else. I can imagine 
that Mark loved having this little secret all to him- 
self — and to Cayley, of course, but Cayley wouldn't 
count — and they must have had great fun fixing it 
up, and making it more difficult for other people to 
find out. Well, then, when Miss Norris was going 
to dress-up, Cayley gave it away. Probably he told 
her that she could never get down to the bowling- 
green without being discovered, and then perhaps 
showed that he knew there was one way in which 
she could do it, and she wormed the secret out of 
him somehow." 

"But this was two or three days before Kobert 
turned up." 

"Exactly. I am not suggesting that there was 
anything sinister about the passage in the first place. 




It was just a little private bit of romance and ad- 
venture for Mark, three days ago. He didn't even 
know that Robert was coming. But somehow the 
passage has been used since, in connexion with 
Robert. Perhaps Mark escaped that way; perhaps 
he's hiding there now. And if so, then the only 
person who could give him away was Miss Norris. 
And she of course would only do it innocently — not 
knowing that the passage had anything to do with 

"So it was safer to have her out of the way ?" 


"But, look here, Tony, why do you want to bother 
about this end of it? We can always get in at the 
bowling-green end." 

"I know, but if we do that we shall have to do 
it openly. It will mean breaking open the box, and 
letting Cayley know that we've done it. You see, 
Bill, if we don't find anything out for ourselves in 
the next day or two, we've got to tell the police what 
we have found out, and then they can explore the 
passage for themselves. But I don't want to do 
that yet." 

"Rather not." 

"So we've got to carry on secretly for a bit If s 
the only way." He smiled and added, "And it's 
much more fun." 

"Rather!" Bill chuckled to himself. 

"Very well, then. Where does the secret passage 



THERE'S one thing which we have got to 
realize at once," said Antony, "and that is that 
if we don't find it easily, we shan't find it at alL" 

"You mean that we shan't have time?" 

"Neither time nor opportunity. Which is rather 
a consoling thought to a lazy person like me." 

"But it makes it much harder, if we can't really 
look properly." 

"Harder to find, yes, but so much easier to look. 
For instance, the passage might begin in Cayley's 
bedroom. Well, now we know that it doesn't" 

"We don't know anything of the sort," protested 

"We know for the purposes of our search. Ob- 
viously we can't go trailing into Cayley's bedroom 
and tapping his wardrobes ; and obviously, therefore, 
if we are going to look for it at all, we must assume 
that it doesn't begin there." 

"Oh, I see." Bill chewed a piece of grass thought- 
fully. "Anyhow, it wouldn't begin on an upstaim 
floor, would it?" 

"Probably not Well, we're getting on." 



"You can wash out the kitchen and all that part 
of the house," said Bill, after more thought. "We 
can't go there." 

"Eight And the cellars, if taere are any." 

"Well, that doesn't leave us much." 

"No. Of course it's only a hundred-to-one chance 
that we find it, but what we want to consider is 
which is the most likely place of the few places in 
which we can look safely." 

"All it amounts to," said Bill, "is the living-rooms 
downstairs — dining-room, library, hall, billiard-room 
and the office rooms." 

"Yes, that's all." 

"Well, the office is the most likely, isn't it?" 

"Yes. Except for one thing." 

"What's that?" 

"Well, it's on the wrong side of the house. One 
would expect the passage to start from the nearest 
place to which it is going. Why make it longer by 
going under the house first?" 

"Yes, that's true, Well, then, you think the din- 
ing-room or the library?" 

"Yes. And the library for choice. I mean for 
our choice. There are always servants going into 
dining-rooms. We shouldn't have much of a chance 
of exploring properly in there. Besides, there's an- 
other thing to remember. Mark has kept this a 
secret for a year. Could he have kept it a secret in 
the dining-room ? Could Miss Norris have got into 
the dining-room and used the secret door just after 


dinner without being seen? It would have been 
much too risky." 

Bill got up eagerly. 

"Come along," he said, "let's try the library. If 
Caylev comes in, we can always pretend we're choos- 
ing a book." 

Antony got up slowly, took his arm and walked 
back to the house with him. 

The library was worth going into, passages or no 
passages. Antony could never resist another person's 
bookshelves. As soon as he went into the room, he 
found himself wandering round it to see what books 
the owner read, or (more likely) did not read, but 
kept for the air which they lent to the house. Mark 
had prided himself on his library. It was a mixed 
collection of books. Books which he had inherited 
both from his father and from his patron; books 
which he had bought because he was interested in 
them or, if not in them, in the authors to whom he 
wished to lend his patronage; books which he had 
ordered in beautifully bound editions, partly because 
they looked well on his shelves, lending a noble colour 
to his rooms, partly because no man of culture should 
ever be without them; old editions, new editions, 
expensive books, cheap books — a library in which 
everybody, whatever his taste, could be sure of find- 
ing something to suit him. 

"And which is your particular fancy, Bill ?" said 
Antony, looking from one shelf to another. "Or are 
you always playing billiards?" 


"I have a look at 'Badminton' sometimes," said 
Bill. "It's over in that corner there." He waved 
a hand. 

"Over here ?" said Antony, going to it 

"Yes." He corrected himself suddenly. "Oh, no, 
it's not. It's over there on the right now. Mark 
had a grand re-arrangement of his library about a 
year ago. It took him more than a week, he told us. 
He's got such a frightful lot, hasn't he ?" 

"Now that's very interesting," said Antony, and 
he sat down and filled his pipe again. 

There was indeed a "frightful lot" of books. The 
four walls of the library were plastered with them 
from floor to ceiling, save only where the door and 
the two windows insisted on living their own life, 
even though an illiterate one. To Bill it seemed the 
most hopeless room of any in which to look for a 
secret opening. 

"We shall have to take every blessed book down," 
he said, "before we can be certain that we haven't 
missed it" 

"Anyway," said Antony, "if we take them down 
one at a time, nobody can suspect us of sinister de- 
signs. After all, what does one go into a library for, 
except to take books down?" 

"But there's such a frightful lot" 

Antony's pipe was now going satisfactorily, and 
he got up and walked leisurely to the end of the wall 
opposite the door. 

"Well, let's have a look," he said, "and see if they 


are so very frightful. Hallo, here's your 'Badmin- 
ton.' You often read that, you Bay?" 

"If I read anythiag." 

"Yes." He looked down and up the shelf. "Sport 
and Travel chiefly. I like books of travel, don't 

"They're pretty dull as a rule." 

"Well, anyhow, some people like them very much," 
said Antony reproachfully. He moved on to the 
next row of shelves. "The Drama. The Restora- 
tion dramatists. Congreve. You can have Con- 
greve. Still, as you well remark, Bill, many people 
think he's funny. Shaw, Wilde, Robertson — I like 
reading plays, Bill. There are not many people who 
do, but those who do are usually very keen. Let u» 
pass on." 

"I say, we haven't too much time," said Bill rest- 

"We haven't. That's why we aren't wasting any. 
Poetry. Who reads poetry nowadays? Bill, when 
did you last read 'Paradise Lost'?" 


"I thought not And when did Miss Calladine 
last read 'The Excursion' aloud to you ?" 

"As a matter of fact, Betty — Miss Calladine — 
happens to be jolly keen on — what's the beggar's 
name ?" 

"Never mind his name. You have said quite 
enough. We pass on." 

He moved on to the next shelf. 


"Biography. Oh, lota of it I love biographies. 
Are you a member of the Johnson Club? I bet 
Mark is. 'Memories of Many Courts' — I'm sure 
Mrs. Calladine reads that Anyway, biographies are 
just as interesting as most novels, so why linger ? 
We pass on." He went to the next shelf, and then 
gave a sudden whistle. "Hallo, hallo I" 

"What's the matter ?" said Bill rather peevishly. 

"Stand back there. Keep the crowd back, Bill. 
We are getting amongst it. Sermons, as I live. 
Sermons. Was Mark's father a clergyman, or does 
Mark take to them naturally!" 

"His father was a parson, I believe. Oh, yes, 
I know he was." 

"Ah, then these are Father's books. 'Half-Hours 
with the Infinite' — I must order that from the 
library when I get back. 'The Lost Sheep,' 'Jones 
on the Trinity,' 'The Epistles of St Paul Explained' 
— Oh, Bill, we're amongst it 'The Narrow Way, 
being Sermons by the Eev. Theodore Ussher' — 

"What is the matter?" 

"William, I am inspired. Stand by." He took 
down the Reverend Theodore Ussher's classic work, 
looked at it with a happy smile for a moment, and 
then gave it to Bill. "Here, hold Ussher for a bit" 

Bill took the book obediently. 

"No, give it me back. Just go out into the hall, 
and see if you can hear Cayley anywhera Say 
'Hallo' loudly, if you do." 


Bill went out quickly, listened, and came back. 

"It's all right." 

"Good." He took the book out of its shelf again. 
"Now then, you can hold Ussher. Hold him in the 
left hand — so. With the right or dexter hand, grasp 
this shelf firmly — so. Now, when I say 'Pull,' pull 
gradually. Got that?" 

Bill nodded, his face alight with excitement. 

"Good." Antony put his hand into the space left 
by the stout Ussher, and fingered the back of the 
shelf. "Pull," he said. 

Bill pulled. 

"Now just go on pulling like that. I shall get it 
directly. Not hard, you know, but just keeping up 
the strain." His fingers went at it again busily. . . . 

And then suddenly the whole row of shelves, from 
top to bottom, swung gently open towards them. 

"Good Lord !" said Bill, letting go of the shelf in 
his amazement 

Antony pushed the shelves back, extracted Ussher 
from Bill's fingers, replaced him, and then, taking 
Bill by the arm, led him to the sofa and deposited 
him in it. Standing in front of him, he bowed 

"Child's play, Watson," he said; "child's play." 

"How on earth " 

Antony laughed happily and sat down on the sofa 
beside him. 

"You don't really want it explained," he saii, 
smacking him on the kneej "you're just being Wat- 


sonish. It's very nice of you, of course, and I 
appreciate it." 

"No, but really, Tony." 

"Oh, my dear Bill!" He smoked silently for a 
little, and then went on, "It's what I was saying 
just now — a secret is a secret until you have dis- 
covered it, and as Boon as you have discovered it, 
you wonder why everybody else isn't discovering it, 
and how it could ever have been a secret at all. This 
passage has been here for years, with an opening at 
one end into the library, and at the other end into 
the shed. Then Mark discovered it, and immediately 
he felt that everybody else must discover it. So he 
made the shed end more difficult by putting the 
croquet-box there, and this end more difficult 

by " he stopped and looked at the other — "by 

what, Bill?" 

But Bill was being Watsonish. 


"Obviously by re-arranging his books. He hap- 
pened to take out 'The Life of Nelson' or 'Three 
Men in a Boat,' or whatever it was, and by the 
merest chance discovered the secret. Naturally he 
felt that everybody else would be taking down 'The 
Life of Nelson' or 'Three Men in a Boat' Natu- 
rally he felt that the secret would be safer if nobody 
ever interfered with that shelf at all. When you 
said that the books had been re-arranged a year ago 
— just about the time the croquet-box came into ex- 
istence — of course I guessed why. So I looked about 


for the dullest books I could find, the books nobody 
ever read. Obviously the collection of sermon-books 
of a mid- Victorian clergyman was the shelf we 

"Yes, I see. But why were you so certain of the 
particular place?" 

"Well, he had to mark the particular place by 
some book. I thought that the joke of putting 'The 
Narrow Way* just over the entrance to the passage 
might appeal to him. Apparently it did." 

Bill nodded to himself thoughtfully several times, 
"Yes, that's very neat," he said. "You're a clever 
devil, Tony." 

Tony laughed. 

"You encourage me to think so, which is bad for 
me, but very delightful." 

"Well, come on, then," said Bill, and he got up, 
and held out a hand. 

"Come on where?" 

"To explore the passage, of course." 

Antony shook his head. 

"Why ever not?" 

"Well, what do you expect to find there?" 

"I don't know. But you seemed to think that we 
might find something that would help." 

"Suppose we find Mark?" said Antony quietly. 

"I say, do you really think he's there?" 

"Suppose he is?" 

"Well, then, there we are." 

Antony walked over to the fireplace, knocked out 


the ashes of his pipe, and turned back to Bill. He 
looked at him gravely without speaking. 

"What are you going to say to him?" he said at 

"How do you mean V 

"Are you going to arrest him, or help him to 
escape ?" 

"I — I — well, of course, I— — " began Bill, stam- 
mering, and then ended lamely, "Well, I don't 

"Exactly. We've got to make up our minds, 
haven't we?" 

Bill didn't answer. Very much disturbed in his 
mind, he walked restlessly about the room, frown- 
ing to himself, stopping now and then at the newly 
discovered door and looking at it as if he were trying 
to learn what lay behind it. Which side was he on, 
if it came to choosing sides — Mark's or the Law's ? 

"You know, you can't just say, 'Oh — er— hallo I' 
to him," said Antony, breaking rather appropriately 
into his thoughts. 

Bill looked up at him with a start. 

"Nor," went on Antony, "can you say, 'This is 
my friend Mr. Gillingham, who is staying with you. 
We were just going to have a game of bowls.' " 

"Yes, it's dashed difficult. I don't know what to 
say. I've been rather forgetting about Mark." He 
wandered over to the window and looked out on to 
the lawns. There was a gardener clipping the grass 
edges. No reason why the lawn should be untidy 


just because the master of the house had disappeared. 
It was going to he a hot day again. Dash it, of 
course he had forgotten Hark. How could he think 
of him as an escaped murderer, a fugitive from jus- 
tice, when everything was going on just aa it did 
yesterday, and the sun was shining just as it did 
when they all drove off to their golf, only twenty- 
four hours ago ? How could he help feeling that this 
was not real tragedy, hut merely a jolly kind of de- 
tective game that he and Antony were playing ? 

He turned hack to his friend. 

"All the same," he said, "you wanted to find the 
passage and now you've found it. Aren't you going 
into it at all?" 

Antony took his arm. 

"Let's go outside again," he said. "We can't go 
into it now, anyhow. It's too risky, with Cayley 
about. Bill, I feel like you — just a little bit fright- 
ened. But what I'm frightened of I don't quite 
know. Anyway, you want to go on with it, don't 

"Yes," said Bill firmly. "We must." 

"Then we'll explore the passage this afternoon, if 
we get the chance. And if we don't get the chance, 
then we'll try it to-night" 

They walked across the hall and out into the sun- 
light again. 

'Do you really think we might find Mark hiding 
there?" asked BilL 

"Ifs possible," said Antony. "Either Mark 


or " He pulled himself up quickly. "No," he 

murmured to himself, "I won't let myself think that 
—not yet, anyway. Itf» too horrible." 




IN" the twenty hours or so at his disposal Inspector 
Birch had heen busy. He had telegraphed to 
London a complete description of Mark in the brown 
flannel suit which he had last been seen wearing ; he 
had made inquiries at Stanton as to whether any- 
body answering to this description had been seen 
leaving by the 4.20 ; and though the evidence which 
had been volunteered to him had been inconclusive, 
it made it possible that Mark had indeed caught that 
train, and had arrived in London before the police at 
the other end had been ready to receive him. But 
the fact that it was market-day at Stanton, and that 
the little town would be more full than usual of 
visitors, made it less likely that either the departure 
of Mark bj the 4.20, or the arrival of Robert by the 
2.10 earlier in the afternoon, would have been par- 
ticularly noticed. As Antony had said to Cayley, 
there would always be somebody ready to hand the 
police a circumstantial story of the movements of 
any man in whom the police were interested. 
That Robert had come by the 2.10 seemed fairly 



certain. To find out more about him in time for 
the inquest would be difficult All that was known 
about him in the village where he and Mark had 
lived as boys bore out the evidence of Cayley. He 
was an unsatisfactory son, and he had been hurried 
off to Australia; nor had he been seen since in th« 
village. Whether there were any more substantial 
grounds of quarrel between the two brothers than 
that the younger one was at home and well-to-do, 
while the elder was poor and an exile, was not known, 
nor, as far as the inspector could see, was it likely 
to be known until Mark was captured. 

The discovery of Mark was all that mattered im- 
mediately. Dragging the pond might not help to- 
wards this, but it would certainly give the impres- 
sion in court to-morrow that Inspector Bitv* tna 
handling the case with zeal. And if only the re- 
volver with which the deed was done was brought to 
the surface, his trouble would be well repaid. "In- 
spector Birch produces the weapon" would make an 
excellent headline in the local paper. 

He was feeling well-satisfied with himself, there- 
fore, as he walked to the pond, where his men were 
waiting for him, and quite in the mood for a little 
pleasant talk with Mr. Gillingham and his friend, 
Mr. Beverley. He gave them a cheerful "Good 
afternoon," and added with a smile, "Coming to 
help us?" 

"You don't really want us," said Antony, smiling 
back at him. 


"You can come if you like." 

Antony gave a little shudder. 

"You can tell me afterwards what you find," he 
•aid. "By the way," he added, "I hope the land- 
lord at the 'George' gave me a good character ?" 

The inspector looked at him quickly. 

"Now how on earth do you know anything about 

Antony bowed to him gravely. 

"Because I guessed that you were a very efficient 
member of the Force." 

The inspector laughed. 

''Well, you came out all right, Mr. Gillingham. 
You got a clean bilL But I had to make certain 
about you." 

"Of course you did. Well, I wish you luck. But 
I don't think you'll find much at the pond. It's 
rather out of the way, isn't it, for anybody running 

"Thafs just what I told Mr. Cayley, when he 
called my attention to the pond. However, we shan't 
do any harm by looking. It's the unexpected that's 
the most likely in this sort of case." 

"You're quite right, Inspector. Well, we mustn't 
keep you. Good afternoon," and Antony smiled 
pleasantly at him. 

"Good afternoon, sir." 

"Good afternoon," said BilL 

Antony stood looking after the inspector as he 
■trod* off, silent for so long that Bill shook him by 


the arm at last, and asked him rather crossly what 
was the matter. 

Antony shook his head slowly from side to side. 

"I don't know; really I don't know. It's too 
devilish what I keep thinking. He can't be as cold- 
blooded as that." 


Without answering, Antony led the way back to 
the garden-seat on which they had been sitting. He 
sat there with his head in his hands. 

"Oh, I hope they find something," he murmured, 
"Oh, I hope they do." 

"In the pond?" 


"But what?" 

"Anything, Bill; anything." 

Bill was annoyed. 

"I say, Tony, this won't do. You really mustn't 
be so damn mysterious. What's happened to you 
suddenly ?" 

Antony looked up at him in surprise. 

"Didn't you hear what he said?" 

''What, particularly?" 

"That it was Cayley's idea to drag the pond." 

"Oh ! Oh, I say !" Bill was rather excited again. 
"You mean that he's hidden something there ? Some 
false clue which he wants the police to find ?" 

"I hope so," said Antony earnestly, "but I'm 
afraid " He stopped short. 

"Afraid of what?" 


"Afraid that he hasn't hidden anything there. 
Afraid tint * 


"* What's the safest place in which to hide anything 
very important?" 

"Somewhere where nohody will look." 

"There's a better place than that" / 


"Somewhere where everybody has already looked." 

"By Jove! You mean that as soon as the pond 
has been dragged, Cayley will hide something there ?" 

"Yes, I'm afraid so." 

"But why afraid?" 

"Because I think that it must be something very 
important, something which couldn't easily be hidden 
anywhere else." 

"What?" asked Bill eagerly. 

Antony shook his head. 

"No, I'm not going to talk about it yet. We can 
wait and see what the inspector finds. He may find 
something; — I don't know what — something that 
Cayley has put there for him to find. But if he 
doesn't, then it will be because Cayley is going to 
hide something there to-night." 

"What?" asked Bill again. 

"You will see what, Bill," said Antony; "because 
we shall be there." 

"Are we going to watch him ?" 

"Yes, if the inspector finds nothing." 

"That's good," said Bill. 


If it were a question of Cayley or the Law, he was 
quite decided as to which side he was taking. Pre- 
vious to the tragedy of yesterday he had got on well 
enough with hoth of the cousins, without heing in the 
least intimate with either. Indeed, of the two he 
preferred, perhaps, the silent, solid Cayley to the 
more volatile Mark. Cayley's qualities, as they ap- 
peared to Bill, may have been chiefly negative; hut 
even if this merit lay in the fact that he never ex- 
posed whatever weaknesses he may have had, this is 
an excellent quality in a fellow-guest (or, if you like, 
fellow-host) in a house where one is continually 
visiting. Mark's weaknesses, on the other hand, 
were very plain to the eye, and Bill had seen a good 
deal of them. 

Yet, though he had hesitated to define his position 
that morning in regard to Mark, he did not hesitate 
to place himself on the side of the Law against Cay- 
ley. Mark, after all, had done him no harm, but 
Cayley had committed an unforgivable offence. Cay- 
ley had listened secretly to a private conversation 
between himself and Tony. Let Cayley hang, if the 
Law demanded it. 

Antony looked at his watch and stood up. 

"Come along," he said. "It's time for that job I 
spoke about." 

"The passage?" said Bill eagerly. 

"No ; the thing which I said that I had to do this 

"Oh, of course. What is it!" 


"Without saying anything, Antony led the way 
indoors to the office. 

It was three o'clock, and at three o'clock yester- 
day Antony and Cayley had found the body. At a 
few minutes after three, he had been looking out of 
the window of the adjoining room, and had been 
surprised suddenly to find the door open and Cayley 
behind him. He had vaguely wondered at the time 
why he had expected the door to be shut, but he had 
had no time then to worry the thing out, and he had 
promised himself to look into it at his leisure after- 
wards. Possibly it meant nothing; possibly, if it 
meant anything, he could have found out its mean- 
ing by a visit to the office that morning. But he 
had felt that he would be more likely to recapture 
the impressions of yesterday if he chose as far as 
possible the same conditions for his experiment. So 
he had decided that three o'clock that afternoon 
should find him once more in the office. 

As he went into the room, followed by Bill, he 
felt it almost as a shock that there was now no body 
of Robert lying there between the two doors. But 
there was a dark stain which showed where the dead 
man's head had been, and Antony knelt down over it^ 
as he had knelt twenty-four hours before. 

"I want to go through it again," he said. "You 
must be Cayley. Cayley said he would get some 
water. I remember thinking that water wasn't 
much good to a dead man, and that probably he was 
only too glad to do anything rather than nothing. 


He came back with a wet sponge and a handkerchief. 
I suppose he got the handkerchief from the chest of 
drawers. Wait a bit" 

He got up and went into the adjoining room; 
looked round it, pulled open a drawer or two, and, 
after shutting all the doors, came back to the office. 

"The sponge is there, and there are handkerchiefs 
in the top right-hand drawer. Now then, Bill, just 
pretend you're Cayley. You've just said something 
about water, and you get up." 

Feeling that it was all a little uncanny, Bill, who 
had been kneeling beside his friend, got up and 
walked out. Antony, as he had done on the previous 
day, looked up after him as he went. Bill turned 
into the room on the right, opened the drawer and 
got the handkerchief, damped the sponge and came 

"Well?" he said wonderingly. 

Antony shook his head. 

"It's all different," he said. "For one thing, you 
made a devil of a noise and Cayley didn't." 

"Perhaps you weren't listening when Cayley went 

"I wasn't. But I should have heard him if I 
could have heard him, and I should have remembered 

"Perhaps Cayley shut the door after him." 


He pressed his hand over his eyes and thought 
It wasn't anything which he had heard, but seme- 


thing which he had seen. He tried desperately hard 
to see it again. ... He saw Cayley getting up, 
opening the door from the office, leaving it open and 
walking into the passage, turning to the door on the 
right, opening it, going in, and then — What did hia 
eyes see after that? If they would only tell him 

Suddenly he jumped up, hia face alight. "Bill, 
I've got it!" he cried. 


"The shadow on the walll I was looking at the 
shadow on the wall. Oh, ass, and ten times ass 1" 

Bill looked uncomprehendingly at him. Antony 
took his arm and pointed to the wall of the passage. 

"Look at the sunlight on it," he said. "That's 
because you've left the door of that room open. The 
sun comes straight in through the windows. Now, 
I'm going to shut the door. Lookl D'you see how 
the shadow moves across? That's what I saw — the 
shadow moving across as the door shut behind him. 
Bill, go in and shut the door behind you — quit* 
naturally. Quick !" 

Bill went out and Antony knelt, watching eagerly. 

"I thought so!" he cried. "I knew it couldn't 
have been that." 

"What happened ?" said Bill, coming back. 

"Just what you would expect. The sunlight came, 
and the shadow moved back again — all in one move- 

"And what happened yesterday ?" 


"The sunlight stayed there; and then the shadow 
came very slowly back, and there was no noise of the 
door being shut" 

Bill looked at him with startled eyes. 

"By Jove ! You mean that Cayley closed the door 
afterwards — as an afterthought — and very quietly, 
so that you couldn't hear?" 

Antony nodded. 

"Yes. That explains why I was surprised after- 
wards when I went into the room to find the door 
open behind me. You know how those doors with 
springs on them close?" 

"The sort which old gentlemen have to keep out 
draughts ?" 

"Yes. Just at first they hardly move at all, and 
then very, very slowly they swing to — well, that was 
the way the shadow moved, and subconsciously I 
must have associated it with the movement of that 
sort of door. By Jove!" He got up, and dusted his 
knees. "Now, Bill, just to make sure, go in and 
close the door like that As an afterthought, you 
know; and very quietly, so that I don't hear the 
click of it" 

Bill did as he was told, and then put his head 
out eagerly to hear what had happened. 

"That was it," said Antony, with absolute con- 
viction. "That w|3 just what I saw yesterday." He 
came out of the office, and joined Bill in the little 

"And now," he said, "let's try and find out what 


it was that Mr. Cayley was doing in Here, and why 
he had to be bo very careful that his friend Mr. 
Gillingham didn't overhear him." 



ANTONY'S first thought was that Cayley had 
hidden something; something, perhaps, which 
he had found by the body, and — but that was absurd. 
In the time at his disposal, he could have done no 
more than put it away in a drawer, where it would 
be much more open to discovery by Antony than if 
he had kept it in his pocket. In any case he would 
have removed it by this time, and hidden it in some 
more secret place. Besides, why in this case bother 
about shutting the door? 

Bill pulled open a drawer in the chest, and looked 

"Is it any good going through these, do you 
think?" he asked. 

Antony looked over his shoulder. 

"Why did he keep clothes here at all ?" he asked. 
"Did he ever change down here?" 

"My dear Tony, he had more clothes than anybody 
in the world. He just kept them here in oase they 
might be useful, I expect. When you and I go from 
London to the country we carry our clothes about 



with us. Mark never did. In his flat in London he 
had everything all over again which he has here. 
It was a hobby with him, collecting clothes. If he'd 
had half a dozen houses, they would all have been 
full of a complete gentleman's town and country 

"I sea" 

"Of course, it might be useful sometimes, when 
he was busy in the next room, not to have to go up- 
stairs for a handkerchief or a more comfortable coat." 

"I see. Yes." He was walking round the room 
as he answered, and he lifted the top of the linen 
basket which stood near the wash basin and glanced 
in. "He seems to have come in here for a collar 

Bill peered in. There was one collar at the bottom 
of the basket. 

"Yes. I daresay he would," he agreed. "If he 
suddenly found that the one he was wearing was un- 
comfortable or a little bit dirty, or something. He 
was very finicking." 

Antony leant over and picked it out 

"It must have been uncomfortable this time," he 
said, after examining it carefully. "It couldn't very 
well be cleaner." He dropped it back again. "Any- 
way, he did come in here sometimes ?" 

"Oh, yes, rather." 

"Yes, but what did Cayley come in for so secret- 
ly r 

"What did ha want to shut the door fori" said 


Bill. "Thatf s what I don't understand. Yon 
couldn't hare seen him, anyhow." 

"No. So it follows that I might have heard him. 
He was going to do something which he didn't want 
ir.e to hear." 

"By Jove, that's itl" said Bill eagerly. 

"Yes; bat what?" 

Bill frowned hopefully to himself, but no inspira- 
tion came. 

"Well, lef s have some air, anyway," he said at 
last, exhausted by the effort, and he went to the 
window, opened it, and looked out. Then, struck by 
an idea, he turned back to Antony' and said, "Do 
you think I had better go up to the pond to make 

sure that they're still at it? Because " He 

broke off suddenly at the sight of Antony's face. 

"Oh, idiot, idiot!" Antony cried. "Oh, most 
super-excellent of Watsons! Oh, you lamb, you 
blessing! Oh, Gillingham, you incomparable ass!" 

"What on earth " 

"The window, the window 1" cried Antony, point- 
ing to it. 

Bill turned back to the window, expecting it to 
say something. As it said nothing, he looked at 
Antony again. 

"He was opening the window !" cried Antony. 


"Cayley, of course." Very gravely and slowly he 
expounded. "He came in here in order to open the 
window. He shut the door so that I shouldn't hear 


him open the window. He opened the window. I 
came in here and found the window open. I said, 
'This window is open. My amazing powers of analy- 
sis tell me that the murderer must have escaped by 
this window.' 'Oh,' said Cayley, raising his eye- 
brows. 'Well,' said he, 'I suppose you must be right 
Said I proudly, 'I am. For the window is open,' I 
said. Oh, you incomparable ass!" 

He understood now. It explained so much that 
had been puzzling him. 

He tried to put himself in Cayley's place — Cayley, 
when Antony had first discovered him, hammering 
at the door and crying, "Let me in I" Whatever had 
happened inside the office, whoever had killed Robert, 
Cayley knew all about it, and knew that Mark was 
not inside, and had not escaped by the window. But 
it was necessary to Cayley's plans — to Mark's plans 
if they were acting in concert — that he should be 
thought so to have escaped. At some time, then, 
while he was hammering (the key in his pocket) at 
the locked door, he must suddenly have remembered 
— with what a shock 1 — that a mistake had been 
made. A window had not been left open 1 

Probably it would just have been a horrible doubt 
at first. Was the office window open ? Surely it was 
open! . . . Was it? . . . Would he have time now 
to unlock the door, slip in, open the French win- 
dows and slip out again f No. At any moment the 
servants might come. It was too risky. Fatal, if 
he were discovered. But servants were stupid. He 


eould get the windows safely open while they were 
crowding round the body. They wouldn't notice. 
He could do it somehow. 

And then Antony's sudden appearance 1 Here was 
a complication. And Antony suggesting that they 
should try the window ! Why, the window was just 
what he wanted to avoid. No wonder he had seemed 
dazed at first 

Ah, and here at last was the explanation why they 
had gone the longest way round — and yet run. It 
was Cayley's only chance of getting a start on An- 
tony, of getting to the windows first, of working 
them open somehow before Antony caught him up. 
Even if that were impossible, he must get there first, 
just to make sure. Perhaps they were open. He 
must get away from Antony and see. And if they 
were shut, hopelessly shut, then he must have a mo- 
ment to himself, a moment in which to think of some 
other plan, and avoid the ruin which seemed so 
suddenly to be threatening. 

So he had run. But Antony had kept up with 
him. They had broken in the window together, and 
gone into the office. But Cayley was not done yet 
There was the dressing-room window 1 But quietly, 
quietly. Antony mustn't hear. 

And Antony didn't hear. Indeed, he had played 
up to Cayley splendidly. Not only had he called 
attention to the open window, but he had carefully 
explained to Cayley why Mark had chosen this par- 
ticular window in preference to the office window. 


And Cayley had agreed that probably that was the 
reason. How he must have chuckled to himself 1 
But he was still a little afraid. Afraid that An- 
tony would examine the shrubbery. Why? Ob- 
viously because there was no trace of anyone having 
broken through the shrubbery. No doubt Cayley 
had provided the necessary traces since, and had 
helped the inspector to find them. Had he even gone 
as far as footmarks — in Mark's shoes? But the 
ground was very hard. Perhaps footmarks were not 
necessary. Antony smiled as he thought of the big 
Cayley trying to squeeze into the dapper little Mark's 
shoes. Cayley must have been glad that footmarks 
were not necessary. 

No, the open window was enough; the open win- 
dow and a broken twig or two. But quietly, quietly, 
Antony mustn't hear. And Antony had not heard. 
. . . But he had seen a shadow on the wall. 

They were outside on the lawn again now. Bill 
and Antony, and Bill was listening open-mouthed to 
his friend's theory of yesterday's happenings. It 
fitted in, it explained things, but it did not get them 
any further. It only gave them another mystery 
to solve. 

"What's that?" said Antony. 

"Mark. Where's Mark? "If he never went into 
the office at all, then where is he now V 

"I don't say that he never went into the office. 
In fact, he must have gone. Elsie heard him." He 
stopped and repeated slowly. "She heard him — at 


least she says she did. But if he was there, he came 
out again by the door." 

"Well, but where does that lead you ?" 

"Where it led Mar*. The passage." 

"Do you mean that he's been hiding there all the 

Antony was silent until Bill had repeated his ques- 
tion, and then with an effort he came out of his 
thoughts and answered him. 

"I don't know. But look here. Here is a possible 
explanation. I don't know if it is the right one — I 
don't know, Bill ; I'm rather frightened. Frightened 
of what may have happened, of what may be going 
to happen. However, here is an explanation. See 
if you can find any fault with it" 

With his legs stretched out and his hands deep in 
his pockets, he lay back on the garden-seat, looking 
up to the blue summer sky above him, and just as if 
he saw up there the events of yesterday being enacted 
over again, he described them slowly to Bill as they 

"We'll begin at the moment when Mark shoots 
Kobert. Call it an accident ; probably it was. Mark 
would say it was, anyhow. He is in a panic, natu- 
rally. But he doesn't lock the door and run away. 
For one thing, the key is on the outside of the door; 
for another, he is not quite such a fool as that But 
he is in a horrible position. He is known to be on 
bad terms with his brother ; he has just uttered some 
foolish threat to him, which may possibly have been 


overheard. What is lie to do ? He does the natural 
thing, the thing which Mark would always do in 
such circumstances. He consults Cayley, the in- 
variable, inevitable Cayley. 

"Cayley is just outside, Cayley must have heard 
the shot, Cayley will tell him what to do. He opens 
the door just as Cayley is coming to see wnat is the 
matter. He explains rapidly. 'What's to be done, 
Cay? what's to be done? It was an accident I 
swear it was an accident. He threatened me. He 
would have shot me if I hadn't Think of some- 
thing, quick I' 

"Cayley has thought of something. 'Leave it to 
me,' he says. 'You clear out altogether. I shot him, 
if you like. I'll do all the explaining. Get away. 
Hide. Nobody saw you go in. Into the passage, 
quick I'll come to you there as soon as I can.' 

"Good Cayley. Faithful Cayley I Mark's cour- 
age comes back. Cayley will explain all right. 
Cayley will tell the servants that it was an accident 
He will ring up the police. Nobody will suspect 
Cayley — Cayley has no quarrel with Bobert And 
then Cayley will come into the passage and tell 
him that it is all right, and Mark will go out 
by the other end, and saunter slowly back to 
the house. He will be told the news by one 
of the servants. Bobert accidentally shot? 
Good Heavens ! 

"So, greatly reassured, Mark goes into the library. 
And Cayley goes to the door of the office. . . .and 


locks it And then, bangs on the door and shouts, 
'Let me in!'" 

Antony was silent Bill looked at him and shook 
his head. 

"Yes, Tony, but that doesn't make sense. What's 
the point of Cayley behaving like that?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders without answering. 

"And what has happened to Mark since?" 

Antony shrugged his Bhoulders again. 

"Well, the sooner we go into that passage, the 
better," said Bill. 

"You're ready to go ?" 

"Quite," said Bill, surprised. 

"You're quite ready for what we may find f ' 

"You're being dashed mysterious, old boy." 

"I know I am." He gave a little laugh, and went 
on, "Perhaps I'm being an ass, just a melodramatic 
ass. Well, I hope I am." He looked at his 

"It's safe, is it ? They're still busy at the pond ?" 

"We'd better make certain. Could you be a sleuth- 
hound, Bill — one of these that travel on their stom- 
achs very noiselessly? I mean, could you get near 
enough to the pond to make sure that Cayley is still 
there, without letting him see you ?" 

"Bather 1" He got up eagerly. "You wait" 

Antony's head shot up suddenly. "Why, that wa» 
what Mark said," he cried. 


"Yes. What Elsie heard him say." 

l t 



"Oh, that" 

"Yes. ... I suppose she couldn't hare made a 
mistake, Bill ? She did hear him ?" 

"She couldn't have mistaken his voice, if that's 
what you mean." 


"Mark had an extraordinary characteristic voice." 


"Bather high-pitched, you know, and — well, one 
can't explain, but " 


"Well, rather like this, you know, or even more 
so if anything." He rattled these words off in 
Mark's rather monotonous, high-pitched voice, and 
then laughed, and added in his natural voice, "I 
say, that was rather good." 

Antony nodded quickly. "That was like it?" he 


"Yes." He got up and squeezed Bill's arm. 
"Well just go and see about Cayley, and then we'll 
get moving. I shall be in the library." 


Bill nodded and walked off in the direction of the 
pond. This was glorious fun; this was life. The 
immediate programme could hardly be bettered. 
First of all he was going to stalk Cayley. There 
was a little copse above the level of the pond, and 
about a hundred yards away from it. He would 
come into thi* from the back, creep cautiously 


through it, taking care that no twigs cracked, aid 
then, drawing himself on his stomach to the edge, 
peer down upon the scene below him. People were 
always doing that sort of thing in hooks, and he had 
been filled with a hopeless envy of them; well, now 
he was actually going to do it himself. What fun! 

And then, when he had got hack unobserved to 
the house and reported to Antony, they were going to 
explore the secret passage 1 Again, what fun ! Un- 
fortunately there seemed to be no chance of buried 
treasure, but there might be buried clues. Even if 
you found nothing, you couldn't get away from the 
fact that a secret passage is a secret passage, and 
anything might happen in it But even that wasn't 
the end of this exciting day. They were going to 
watch the pond that night ; they were going to watch 
Cayley under the moonlight, watch him as he threw 
into the silence of the pond — what ? The revolver t 
Well, anyhow, they were going to watch him. What 

To Antony, who was older and who realized into 
what deep waters they were getting, it did not seem 
fun. But it was amazingly interesting. He saw so 
much, and yet somehow it was all out of focus. It 
was like looking at an opal, and discovering with 
every movement of it some new colour, some new 
gleam of light reflected, and yet never really seeing 
the opal as a whole. He was too near it, or too far 
away; he strained his eyes and he relaxed his eyes; 
it was no good. His brain could not get hold of it. 


But there were moments when he almost had it. . 
and then turned away from it. He had seen more of 
life than Bill, but he had never seen murder before, 
and this which was in his mind now, and to which he 
was afraid to listen, was not just the hot-blooded 
killing which any man may come to if he lose control. 
It was something much more horrible. Too horrible 
to be true. Then let him look again for the truth. 
He looked again — but it was all out of focus. 

"I will not look again," he said aloud, as he be- 
gan to walk towards the house. "Not yet, anyway." 
He would go on collecting facts and impressions. 
Perhaps the one fact would come along by itself 
which would make everything clear. 



"D ILL had come back, and had reported, rather 
■*-* breathless, that Cayley was still at the pond. 

"But I don't think they're getting up much except 
mud," he said. "I ran most of the way back so an 
to give us as much time as possible." 

Antony nodded. 

"Well, come along, then," he said. "The sooner, 
the quicker." 

They stood in front of the row of sermons. An- 
tony took down the Reverend Theodore TJssher's 
famous volume, and felt for the spring. Bill pulled. 
The shelves swung open towards them. 

"By Jove I" said Bill, "it is a narrow way." 

There was an opening about a yard square in front 
of them, which had something the look of a brick 
fireplace, a fireplace raised about two feet from the 
ground. But, save for one row of bricks in front, 
the floor of it was emptiness. Antony took a torch 
from his pocket and flashed it down into the black- 

"Look," he whispered to the eager Bill "The 
steps begin down there. Six feet down." 



He flashed his torch up again. There was a hand- 
hold of iron, a sort of large iron staple, in the bricks 
in front of them. 

"You swing off from there," said Bill. "At least, 
I suppose you do. I wonder how Euth Norris liked 
doing it." 

"Cayley helped her, I should think. . . . It's 

"Shall I go first?" asked Bill, obviously longing 
to do so. 

Anthony shook his head with a smile. 

"I think I will, if you don't mind very much, 
Bill. Just in case." 

"In case of what?" 

"Well— in case." 

Bill had to be content with that, but he was too 
much excited to wonder what Antony meant. 

"Kighto," he said. "Go on." 

"Well, we'll just make sure we can get back again, 
first. It really wouldn't be fair on the inspector if 
we got stuck down here for the rest of our lives. 
He's got enough to do trying to find Mark, but if 
he has to find you and me as well " 

"We can always get out at the other end." 

"Well, -we're not certain yet. I think I'd better 
just go down and back. I promise faithfully not to 

"Eight you are." 

Antony sat down on the ledge of bricks, swung 
his feet over, and sat there for a moment, his legs 


dangling. He flashed his torch into the darkness 
again, so as to make sure where the steps began ; then 
returned it to his pocket, seized the staple in front 
of him and swung himself down. His feet touched 
the steps beneath him, and he let go. 

"Is it all right?" said Bill anxiously. 

"All right. I'll just go down to the bottom of the 
steps and back. Stay there." 

The light shone down by his feet. His head be- 
gan to disappear. For a little while Bill, craning 
down the opening, could still see faint splashes of 
light, and could hear slow uncertain footsteps; for 
a little longer he could fancy that he saw and heard 
them; then he was alone. . . . 

Well, not quite alone. There was a sudden voice 
in the hall outside. 

"Good Lordl" said Bill, turning round with a 
start. "Cayleyl" 

If he was not so quick in thought as Antony, he 
was quick enough in action. Thought was not de- 
manded now. To close the secret door safely but 
noiselessly, to make sure that the books were in the 
right places, to move away to another row of shelves 
so as to be discovered deep in "Badminton" or "Bae- 
deker" or whomever the kind gods should send to 
his aid — the difficulty was not to decide what to do, 
but to do all this in five seconds rather than in six. 

"Ah, there you are," said Cayley from the door- 

"Hallo!" said Bill, in surprise, looking up from 


the fourth volume of "The Life and Works of 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge." "Have they finished ?" 

"Finished what?" 

"The pond," said Bill, wondering why he was 
reading Coleridge on such a fine afternoon. Des- 
perately he tried to think of a good reason . . . 
verifying a quotation — an argument with Antony — 
that would do. But what quotation? 

"Oh, no. They're still at it Where's Gilling- 

"The Ancient Mariner" — water, water, every- 
where — or was that something else ? And where waa 
Gillingham? Water, water everywhere 

"Tony? Oh, he's about somewhere. We're just 
going down to the village. They aren't finding any- 
thing at the pond, are they?" 

"No. But they like doing it Something off their 
minds when they can say they've done it." 

Bill, deep in his book, looked up and said "Yes," 
and went back to it again. He was just getting to 
the place. 

"What's the book?" said Cayley, coming up to 
him. Out of the corner of his eye he glanced at the 
shelf of sermons as he came. Bill saw that glance 
and wondered. Was there anything there to give 
away the secret? 

"I was just looking up a quotation," he drawled. 
"Tony and I had a bet about it You know that 
thing about— er — water, water everywhere, and — 


er — not a drop to drink." (But what on earth, he 
wondered to himself, were they betting about!) 

" 'Nor any drop to drink,' to be accurate." 

Bill looked at him in surprise. Then a happy 
smile came on his face. 

"Quite sure?" he said. 

"Of course." 

"Then you've saved me a lot of trouble. That's 
what the bet was about." He closed the book with a 
slam, put it back in its shelf, and began to feel for 
his pipe and tobacco. "I was a fool to bet with 
Tony," he added. "He always knows that sort of 

So far, so good. But here was Cayley stil 1 in the 
library, and there was Antony, all unsuspecting, in 
the passage. When Antony came back he would not 
bf surprised to find the door closed, because the whole 
object of his going had been to Bee if he could open 
the door easily from the inside. At any moment, 
then, the bookshelf might swing back and show 
Antony's head in the gap. A nice surprise for 

"Come with us ?" he said casually, as he struck a 
match. He pulled vigorously at the name as he 
waited for the answer, hoping to hide his anxiety, for 
if Cayley assented, he was done. 

"I've got to go into Stanton." 

Bill blew out a great cloud of smoke with an ex- 
piration which covered also a heartfelt sigh of relief. 

"Oh, a pity. You're driving, I suppose?" 


"Yes. The car will be here directly. There's a 
letter I must write first" He sat down at a writing 
table, and took out a sheet of notepaper. 

He was facing the secret door; if it opened he 
would see it Any any moment now it might open. 

Bill dropped into a chair and thought Antony 
must be warned. Obviously. But how? How did 
one signal to anybody ? By code. Morse code. Did 
Anthony know it? Did Bill know it himself, if it 
eame to that ? He had picked up a bit in the Army 
— not enough to send a message, of course. But a 
message was impossible, anyhow ; Cayley would hear 
him tapping it out It wouldn't do to send more 
than a single letter. What letters did he know? 
And what letter would convey anything to Antony ? 
. . . He pulled at his pipe, his eyes wandering from 
Cayley at his desk to the Eevend Theodore Ussher in 
bis shelf. What letter? 

C for Cayley. Would Antony understand? 
Probably not, but it was just worth trying. What 
was C? Long, short, long, short. Umpty-iddy- 
umpty-iddy. Was that right ? C — yes, that was C. 
He was sure of that C. Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy. 

Hands in pockets, he got up and wandered across 
the room, humming vaguely to himself, the picture 
of a man waiting for another man (as it might be 
his friend Gillingham) to come in and take him 
away for a walk or something. He wandered across 
to the books at the back of Cayley, and began to tap 
absent-mindedly on the shelves, as he looked at the 


titles. Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy. Not that it was 
much like that at first; he couldn't get the rhythm 
of it . . . 

Umpt-y-iddj-umpt-j-iiij. That was better. He 
was back at Samuel Taylor Coleridge now. Antony 
would begin to hear him Boon. Umpt-j-iddy-umpt-j 
iddy; just the aimless tapping of a man who is won- 
dering what book he will take out with him to read 
on the lawn. Would Antony hear? One always 
heard the man in the next flat knocking out his pipe. 
Would Antony understand? Umpt-y-iddy-tmpt-j 
iddy. C. for Cayley, Anthony. Cayley's here. For 
God's sake, wait. 

"Good Lord! Sermons!" said Bill, with a loud 
laugh. (Umpt-j-iddj^umpt-j-iddj.) "Ever read 
'em, Cayley?" 

"What?" Cayley looked up suddenly. Bill's 
back moved slowly along, his fingers beating a tattoo 
on the shelves as he walked. 

"Er — no," said Cayley, with a little laugh. An 
awkward, uncomfortable little laugh, it seemed to 

"Nor do I." He was past the sermons now — past 
the secret door — but still tapping in the same aim- 
less way. 

"Oh, for God's sake sit down," burst out Cayley. 
"Or go outside if you want to walk about" 

Bill turned round in astonishment. 

"Hallo, what's the matter?" 

Cayley was slightly ashamed of bis outburst 


"Sorry, Bill," he apologized. "My nerves are 
on edge. Your constant tapping and fidgeting 
about " 

"Tapping?" said Bill •with an air of complete 

"Tapping on the shelves, and humming. Sorry. 
It got on my nerves." 

"My dear old chap, I'm awfully sorry. I'll go 
out in the hall." 

"It's all right," said Cayley, and went on with 
his letter. 

Bill sat down in his chair again. Had Antony 
understood ? Well, anyhow, there was nothing to do 
now hut wait for Cayley to go. "And if you ask 
me" said Bill to himself, much pleased, "I ought to 
he on the stage. That's where I ought to be. The 
complete actor." 

A minute, two minutes, three minutes . . . five 
minutes. It was safe now. Antony had guessed. 

"Is the car there?" asked Cayley, as he sealed up 
his letter. 

Bill strolled into the hall, called back "Yes," and 
went out to talk to the chauffeur. Cayley joined 
him, and they stood there for a moment. 

"Hallo," said a pleasant voice behind them. They 
turned round and saw Antony. 

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Bill." 

With a tremendous effort Bill restrained his feel- 
ings, and said casually enough that it was all right. 


"Well, I mast be off," said Cayley. "You're 
going down to the village?" 

"That's the idea." 

"I wonder if you'd take this letter to Jallands for 

"Of course." 

"Thanks very much. Well, I shall see you later." 
He nodded and got into the car. 

As soon as they were alone Bill turned eagerly to 
his friend. 

"Well?" he said excitedly. 

"Come into the library." 

They went in, and Tony sank down into a chair. 

"You must give me a moment," he panted. "I've 
been running." 


"Well, of course. How do you think I got back 

"You don't mean you went out at the other end ?" 

Antony nodded. 

"I say, did you hear me tapping?" 

"I did, indeed. Bill, you're a genius." 

Bill blushed. 

"I knew you'd understand," he said. "You 
guessed that I meant Cayley?" 

"I did. It was the least I could do after you had 
been so brilliant You must have had rather an 
exciting time." 

"Exciting? Good lord, I should think it was." 

"Tell me about it." 


A» modestly as possible, Mr. Beverley explained 
hit qualifications for life on the stage. 

"Good man," said Antony at the end of it "You 
are the most perfect Watson that ever lived. Bill, 
my lad," he went on dramatically, rising and taking 
Bill's hand in both of his, "there is nothing that you 
and I could not accomplish together, if we gave our 
minds to it." 

"Silly old ass." 

"That's what you always say when I'm being 
serious. Well, anyway, thanks awfully. You really 
saved us this time." 

"Were you coming hack?" 

"Yes. At least I think I was. I was just won- 
dering when I heard you tapping. The fact of the 
door being shut was rather surprising. Of course 
the whole idea was to see if it could be opened easily 
from the other side, but I felt somehow that you 
wouldn't shut it until the last possible moment — 
until you saw me coming back. Well, then I heard 
the taps, and I knew it must mean something, so I 
sat tight. Then when C began to come along I said, 
'Cayley, b'Jove' — bright, aren't I? — and I simply 
hared to the other end of the passage foi all I was 
worth. And hared back again. Because I thought 
you might be getting rather involved in explanations 
— about where I was, and so on." 

"You didn't see Mark, then ?" 

"No. Nor his No, I didn't see anything." 

"Nor what?" 


Antony tu silent for a moment. 

"I didn't see anything, Bill. Or rather, I did 
see something ; I saw a door in the wall, a cupboard. 
And it's locked. So if there's anything we want to 
find, that's where it is." 

"Could Mark be hiding there?" 

"I called through the keyhole — in a whisper 1 — 
'Mark, are you there?' — he would have thought it 
was Cayley. There was no answer." 

"Well, let's go down and try again. We might 
be able to get the door open." 

Antony shook his head. 

"Aren't I going at all?" said Bill in great dis- 

When Antony spoke, it was to ask another question : 

"Can Cayley drive a car?" 

"Yes, of course. Why?" 

"Then he might easily drop the chauffeur at his 
lodge and go off to Stanton, or wherever he wanted 
to, on his own?" 

"I suppose so — if he wanted to." 

"Yes." Antony got up. "Well, look here, as we 
said we were going into the village, and as we prom- 
ised to leave that letter, I almost think we'd better 
do it." 

"Oh! ... Oh, very well." 

" Jallands. What were you telling me about that ? 
Oh, yes; the Widow Norbury." 

"That's right. Cayley used to be rather keen on 
the daughter. The letter's for her." 


"Yes; well, let's take it. Just to be on the safe 

"Am I going to be done out of that secret passage 
altogether?" asked Bill fretfully. 

"There's nothing to see, really, I promise you." 

"You're very mysterious. What's upset you 7 
You did see something down there, I'm certain of 

"I did, and I've told you about it" 

<c No, you haven't. You only told me about the 
door in the -wall." 

"That's it Bill. And it's locked. And I'm fright 
ened of what's behind it." 

"But then we shall never know what's there if we 
aren't going to look." 

"We shall know to-night," said Antony, taking 
Bill's arm and leading him to the hall, "when wo 
watch our dear friend Cayley dropping it into the 



THEY left the road, and took the path across the 
fields which sloped gently downwards towards 
Jallands. Antony was silent, and since it is diffi- 
cult to keep up a conversation with a silent man for 
any length of time, Bill had dropped into silence 
too. Or rather, he hummed to himself, hit at thistles 
in the grass with his stick and made uncomfortable 
noises with his pipe. But he noticed that his com- 
panion kept looking back over his shoulder, almost 
as if he wanted to remember for a future occasion 
the way by which they were coming. Yet there was 
no difficulty about it, for they remained all the time 
in view of the road, and the belt of trees above the 
long park wall which bordered its further side stood 
out clearly against the sky. 

Antony, who had just looked round again, turned 
back with a smile. 

"What's the joke?" said Bill, glad of the more 
social atmosphere. 

"Cayley. Didn't you see?" 



"See what?" 

"The car. Going past on the road there." 

"So thaf 8 what you were looking for. You've got 
jolly good eyes, my hoy, if you recognize the car at 
this distance after only seeing it twice." 

"Well, I have got jolly good eyes." 

"I thought he was going to Stanton." 

"He hoped you'd think so — obviously." 

"Then where is he going?" 

"The lihrary, prohahly. To consult our friend 
Ussher. After making quite sure that his friends 
Beverley and Gillingham really were going to Jal- 
lands, as they said." 

Bill stopped suddenly in the middle of the path. 

"I say, do you think so!" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders. 

"I shouldn't he surprised. We must he devilishly 
inconvenient for him, hanging about the house. Any 
moment he can get, when we're definitely somewhere 
else, must be very useful to him." 

"Useful for what?" 

"Well, useful for his nerves, if for nothing else. 
We know he's mixed up in this business; we know 
he's hiding a secret or two. Even if he doesn't sus- 
pect that we're on his tracks, he must feel that at any 
moment we might stumble on something." 

Bill gave a grunt of assent, and they went slowly 
on again. 

"What about to-night?" he said after a lengthy 
blow at his pipe. 


"Try a piece of grass," said Antony, offering it 
to him. 

Bill pushed it through the mouthpiece, hlew again, 
said, "That's better," and returned the pipe to his 

"How are we going to get out without Cayley 
knowing ?" 

"Well, that wants thinking over. It's going to b« 
difficult. I wish we were sleeping at the inn. . . . 
Is this Miss Norbury, by any chance I" 

Bill looked up quickly. They were close to Jal- 
lands now, an old thatched farmhouse which, after 
centuries of sleep, had woken up to a new world, and 
had forthwith sprouted wings; wings, however, of so 
discreet a growth that they had not brought with 
them any obvious change of character, and Jallands 
even with a bathroom was still Jallands. To the 
outward view, at any rate. Inside, it was more 
clearly Mrs. Norbury's. 

"Yes — Angela Norbury," murmured BilL "ISTot 
bad-looking, is she?" 

The girl who stood by the little white gate of 
Jallands was something more than "not bad-looking," 
but in this matter Bill was keeping his superlatives 
for another. In Bill's eyes she must be judged, and 
condemned, by all that distinguished her from Betty 
Calladine. To Antony, unhampered by these stand- 
ards of comparison, she seemed, quite simply, beau- 

"Cayley asked us to bring a letter along," ex- 


plained Bill, when the necessary handshakings and 
introductions were over. "Here you are." 

"You will tell him, won't you, how dreadfully 
sorry I am about — about what has happened I 
It seems so hopeless to say anything; so hope- 
less even to believe it. If it is true what we've 

Bill repeated the outline of the events of yester- 

"Yes. . . . And Mr. Ablett hasn't been found 


She ehook her head in distress. "It still seems to 
have happened to somebody else; somebody we didn't 
know at all." Then, with a sudden grave smile 
which included both of them, "But you must come 
and have some tea." 

"It's awiully decent of you," said Bill awkwardly, 
"but we— er " 

"You will, won't you ?" she said to Antony. 

"Thank you very much." 

Mrs. Norbury was delighted to see them as she 
always was to see any man in her house who came 
up to the necessary standard of eligibility. When 
her life-work was completed, and summed up in those 
beautiful words: "A marriage has been arranged, 
and will shortly take place, between Angela, daughter 
of the late John Norbury ..." then she would 
utter a grateful Nunc dimittis and depart in peace 
— to a better world, if Heaven insisted, but pre- 


ferably to her new son-in-law's more dignified estab- 
lishment. For there was no donbt that eligibility 
meant not only eligibility as a husband. 

But it was not as "eligibles" that the visitors from 
the Red House were received with such eagerness 
to-day, and even if her special smile for "possibles" 
was there, it was instinctive rather than reasoned. 
All that she wanted at this moment was news — news 
of Mark. For she was bringing it off at last; and, 
if the engagement columna of the "Morning Post" 
were preceded, as in the case of its obituary columns, 
by a premonitory bulletin, the announcement of yes- 
terday would have cried triumphantly to the world, 
or to such part of the world as mattered : "A mar- 
riage has very nearly been arranged (by Mrs. Nor- 
bury), and will certainly take place, between Angela, 
only daughter of the late John Norbury, and Mark 
Ablett of the Red House." And, coming across it 
on his way to the sporting page, Bill would have 
been surprised. For he had thought that, if any- 
body, it was Cayley. 

To the girl it was neither. She was often amused 
by her mother's ways ; sometimes ashamed of them ; 
sometimes distressed by them. The Mark Ablett 
affair had seemed to her particularly distressing, for 
Mark was so obviously in league with her mother 
against her. Other suitors, upon whom her mother 
had smiled, had been embarrassed by that champion- 
ship; Mark appeared to depend on it as much as on 
his own attractions, great though he thought these 


to be. They went a-wooing together. It was a pleas- 
ure to turn to Cayley, that hopeless ineligible. 

But alas! Cayley had misunderstood her. She 
could not imagine Cayley in love — until she saw it, 
and tried, too late, to stop it. That was four days 
ago. She had not seen him since, and now here was 
this letter. She dreaded opening it It was a relief 
to feel that at least she had an excuse for not doing 
so while her gujasts were in the house. 

Mrs. Norbury recognized at once that Antony was 
likely to be the more sympathetic listener ; and when 
tea was over, and Bill and Angela had been dis- 
patched to the garden with the promptness and effi- 
ciency of the expert, dear Mr. Gillingham found 
himself on the sofa beside her, listening to many 
things which were of even greater interest to him 
than she could possibly have hoped. 

"It is terrible, terrible," she said. "And to sug- 
gest that dear Mr. Ablett " 

Antony made suitable noises. 

"You've 6een Mr. Ablett for yourself. A kinder, 
more warmhearted man " 

Antony explained that he had not seen Mr. Ablett 

"Of course, yes, I was forgetting. But, believ* 
me Mr. Gillingham, you can trust a woman's intui- 
tion in these matters." 

Antony said that he was sure of this. 

"Think of my feelings as a mother." 

Antony was thinking of Miss Norbury's feelings 
as a daughter, and wondering if she guessed that 


her affairs were now being discussed with a stranger. 
Yet what could he do? What, indeed, did he want 
to do except listen, in the hope of learning? Mark 
engaged, or about to be engaged! Had that any 
bearing on the events of yesterday? What, for in- 
stance, would Mrs. Norbury have thought of brother 
Robert, that family skeleton ? Was this another rea- 
son for wanting brother Robert out of the way ? 

"I never liked him, never I" 

"Never liked ?" said Antony, bewildered. 

"That cousin of his— Mr. Cayley." 


"I ask you, Mr. Gillingham, am I the sort of 
woman to trust my little girl to a man who would 
go about shooting his only brother?" 

"I'm sure you wouldn't^ Mrs. Norbury." 

"If there has been any shooting done, it has been 
done by somebody else. 

Antony looked at her inquiringly. 

"I never liked him," said Mrs. Norbury firmly. 

However, thought Antony to himself, that didn't 
quite prove that Cayley was a murderer. 

"How did Miss Norbury get on with him?" he 
asked cautiously. 

"There was nothing in that at all," said Miss Nor- 
bury's mother emphatically. "Nothing. I would 
»ay so to anybody." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. I never meant " 

"Nothing. I can say that for dear Angela with 


perfect confidence. Whether he made advances " 

She broke off with a shrug of her plump shoulders. 

Antony waited eagerly. 

"Naturally they met. Possibly he might hava — 
I don't know. But my duty as a mother was clear, 
Mr. GiUingham." 

Mr. GiUingham made an encouraging noise. 

"I told him quite frankly that — how shall I put 
it? — that he was trespassing. Tactfully, of course. 
But frankly." 

"You mean," said Antony, trying to speak calmly, 
"that you told him that — er — Mr. Ablett and your 
daughter ?" 

Mrs. Norbury nodded several times. 

"Exactly, Mr. GiUingham. I had my duty as a 

"I am sure, Mrs. Norbury, that nothing would 
keep you from doing your duty. But it must have 
been disagreeable. Particularly if you weren't quite 
sure — " 

"He was attracted, Mr. GiUingham. Obviously 

"Who would not be t" said Antony, with a charm- 
ing smile. "It must have been something of a shock 
to him to " 

"It was just that which made me so glad that I 
had spoken. I saw at once that I had not spoken a 
moment too soon." 

"There must have been a certain awkwardness 
about the next meeting," suggested Antony. 


"Naturally, he has not been here since. No doubt 
they would have been bound to meet up at the Red 
House sooner or later." 

"Oh, this was only quit* lately?" 

"Last week, Mr. Gillingham. I spoke just ir 

"Ah I" said Antony, under his breath. Ho had 
been waiting for it. 

He would have liked now to have gone away, so 
that he might have thought over the new situation 
by himself; or, perhaps preferably, to have changed 
partners for a little while with Bill. Miss Norbury 
would hardly be ready to confide in a stranger with 
the readiness of a mother, but he might have learnt 
something by listening to her. For which of them 
had she the greater feeling — Cayley or Mark ? Was 
she really prepared to marry Mark? Did she love 
him — or the other — or neither? Mrs. Norbury was 
only a trustworthy witness in regard to her own ac- 
tions and thoughts ; he had learnt all that was neces- 
sary of those, and only the daughter now had any- 
thing left to tell him. But Mrs. Norbury was still 

"Girls are so foolish, Mr. Gillingham," she was 
saying. "It is fortunate that they have mothers to 
guide them. It was so obvious to me from the be- 
ginning that dear Mr. Ablett was just the husband 
for my little girl. You never knew him ?" 

Antony said again that he had not seen Mr. Ablett. 

"Such a gentleman. So nice-looking, in his ar- 


tistic way. A regular Velazquez — I should say Van 
Dyck. Angela would have it that she could never 
marry a man with a beard. As if that mattered, 

when " She broke off, and Antony finished her 

sentence for her. 

"The Red House is certainly charming," he paid. 

"Charming. Quite charming. And it is not as 
if Mr. Ablett's appearance were in any way undis- 
tinguished. Quite the contrary. I'm sure you agree 
with me?" 

Antony said that he had never had the pleasure 
of seeing Mr. Ablett. 

"Yes. And quite the centre of the literary and 
artistic world. So desirable in every way." 

She gave a deep sigh, and communed with herself 
for a little. Antony was about to snatch the oppor- 
tunity of leaving, when Mrs. Norbury began again. 

"And then there's this scapegrace brother of his. 
He was perfectly frank with me, Mr. Gillingham. 
He would be. He told mfe of this brother, and I told 
him that I was quite certain it would make no differ- 
ence to my daughter's feelings for him. . . . After 
all, the brother was in Australia." 

"When was this 1 Yesterday?" Antony felt that, 
if Mark had only mentioned it after his brother's 
announcement of a personal call at the Red House, 
this perfect frankness had a good deal of wisdom 
behind it. 

"It couldn't have been yesterday, Mr. Gillingham. 
Yesterday " she shuddered, and shook her head. 


"I thought perhaps he had heen down here in the 

"Oh, no! There is such a thing, Mr. Gillingham, 
as heing too devoted a lover. Not in the morning, 
no. We both agreed that dear Angela — Oh, no. 
No; the day before yesterday, when he happened to 
drop in about tea-time." 

It occurred to Antony that Mrs. Norbury had 
come a long way from her opening statement that 
Mark and Miss Norbury were practically engaged. 
She was now admitting that dear Angela was not 
to be rushed, that dear Angela had, indeed, no heart 
for the match at all. 

"The day before yesterday. As it happened, dear 
Angela was out. Not that it mattered. He was 
driving to Middleston. He hardly had time for a 
cup of tea, so that even if she had been in " 

Antony nodded absently. This was something 
new. Why did Mark go to Middleston the day be- 
fore yesterday? But, after alh why shouldn't bef 
A hundred reasons unconnected with the death of 
Robert might have taken him there. 

He got up to go. He wanted to be alone — alone, 
at least, with Bill. Mrs. Norbury had given him 
many things to think over, but the great outstand- 
ing fact which had emerged was this: that Cayley 
had reason to hate Mark. Mrs. Norbury had given 
him that reason. To hate ? Well, to be jealous, any- 
how. But that was enough. 

"You see," he said to Bill, as they walked back. 


"we know that Cayley is perjuring himself and risk- 
ing himself over this business, and that must be for 
one of two reasons. Either to save Mark or to en- 
danger him. That is to say, he is either whole- 
heartedly for him or whole-heartedly against him. 
Well, now we know that he is against him, definitely 
against him." 

"But, I say, you know," protested Bill, "one 
doesn't necessarily try to ruin one's rival in 

"Doesn't one?" said Antony, turning to him with 
a smile. 

Bill blushed. 

"Well, of course, one never knows, but I 
mean " 

"You mightn't try to ruin him, Bill, but you 
wouldn't perjure yourself in order to get him out of 
a trouble of his own making." 

"Lord! no." 

"So that of the two alternatives the other is the 
more likely." 

They had come to the gate into the last field which 
divided them from the road, and having gone through 
it, they turned round and leant against it, resting 
for a moment, and looking down at the house which 
they had left 

"Jolly little place, isn't it?" said BilL 

"Very. But rather mysterious." 

"In what way ?" 

"Well, where's the front door!" 


"The front door! Why, you've just come out of 

"But isn't there a drive, or a road or anything!" 

Bill laughed. 

"No; that's the beauty of it to some people. And 
that's why it's so cheap, and why the Norburys can 
afford it, I expect. They're not too well off." 

"But what about luggage and tradesmen and that 
kind of thing?" 

"Oh, there's a cart-track, but motor-cars can't come 
any nearer than the road" — he turned round and 
pointed — "up there. So the week-end millionaire 
people don't take it At least, they'd have to build 
a road and a garage and all the rest of it if they 

"I see," said Antony carelessly, and they turned 
round and continued their walk up to the road. But 
later on he remembered this casual conversation at 
the gate, and saw the importance of it 



WHAT was it which Cayley was going to hid© 
in that pond that night? Antony thought 
that he knew now. It was Mark's body. 

From the beginning he had seen this answer com- 
ing and had drawn back from it For, if Mark had 
been killed, it seemed such a cold-blooded killing. 
Was Cayley equal to it? Bill would have said "No," 
but that was because he had had breakfast with 
Cayley, and lunch with him, and dinner with him; 
had ragged him and played games with him. Sill 
would have said "No," because Bill wouldn't have 
killed anybody in cold blood himself, and because he 
took it for granted that other people behaved pretty 
much as he did. Sut Antony had no such illusions. 
Murders were done; murder had actually been done 
here, for there was Robert's dead body. Why not 
another murder? 

Had Mark been in the office at all that afternoon f 
The only evidence (other than Cayley's, which ob- 
viously did not count) was Elsie's. Elsie was quite 



certain that she had heard his voice. But then Bill 
had said that it was a very characteristic voice — an 
easy voice, therefore, to imitate. If Bill could imi- 
tate it so successfully, why not Cayley ? 

But perhaps it had not been such a cold-blooded 
killing, after all. Suppose Cayley had had a quarrel 
with his cousin that afternoon over the girl whom 
they were both wooing. Suppose Cayley had killed 
Mark, either purposely, in sudden passion, or acci- 
dently, meaning only to knock him down. Suppose 
that this had happened in the passage, say about two 
o'clock, either because Cayley had deliberately led 
him there, or because Mark had casually suggested 
a visit to it. (One could imagine Mark continually 
gloating over that secret passage.) Suppose Cayley 
there, with the body at his feet, feeling already the 
rope round his neck; his mind darting this way and 
that in frantic search for a way of escape; and sup- 
pose that suddenly and irrelevantly he remembers 
that Robert is coming to the house at three o'clock 
that afternoon — automatically he looks at his watch 
— in half an hour's time. . . . 

In half an hour's time. He must think of some- 
thing quickly, quickly. Shall he bury the body in 
the passage and let it be thought that Mark ran 
away, frightened at the mere thought of his brother's 
arrival? But there was the evidence of the break- 
fast table. Mark had seemed annoyed at this re- 
surrection of the black sheep, but certainly not 
frightened. No, that was much too thin a story. 


But suppose Mark had actually seem his brother and 
had a quarrel with him ; suppose it could be made to 
look as if Eobert had killed Mark 

Anthony pictured to himself Oayley in the pas- 
sage, standing over the dead body of his cousin, and 
working it out How could Robert be made to seem 
the murderer, if Robert were alive to deny it ? But 
suppose Robert were dead, too ? 

He looks at his watch again. (Only twenty-five 
minutes now.) Suppose Robert were dead, too? 
Robert dead in the office, and Mark dead in the pas- 
sage — how does that help? Madness! But if the 
bodies were brought together somehow . . . and 
Robert's death looked like suicide? . . . Was it 
possible ? 

Madness again. Too difficult. (Only twenty min- 
utes now.) Too difficult to arrange in twenty min- 
utes. Can't arrange a suicide. Too difficult . . . 
Only nineteen minutes. . . . 

And then the sudden inspiration! Robert dead 
in the office, Mark's body hidden in the passage — • 
impossible to make Robert seem the murderer, but 
how easy to make Mark! Robert dead and Mark 
missing; why, it jumped to the eye at once. Mark 
had killed Robert — accidentally; yes, that would be 
more likely — and then had run away. Sudden panic 
. . . (He looks at his watch again. Fifteen min- 
utes, but plenty of time now. The thing arranges 

Was that the solution, Antony wondered. It 


seemed to fit is witk the facts as they knew them; 
hut then, so did that other theory which he had sug- 
gested to Bill in the morning. 

"Which one?" said Bill. 

They had come hack from Jallands through the 
park and were sitting in the copse above the pond, 
from which the inspector and his fishermen had now 
withdrawn. Bill had listened with open mouth to 
Antony's theory, and save for an occasional "By 
Jove!" had listened in silence. "Smart man, Cay- 
ley," had been his only comment at the end. 

"Which other theory?" 

"That Mark had killed Kobert accidentally and 
had gone to Cayley for help, and that Cayley, having 
hidden him in the passage, locked the office door from 
the outside and hammered on it." 

"Yes, but you were so dashed mysterious about 
that. I asked you what the point of it was, and 
you wouldn't say anything." He thought for a little, 
and then went on. "I suppose you meant that Cay- 
ley deliberately betrayed Mark, and tried to make 
him look like a murderer?" ^. 

"I wanted to warn you that we should probably 
find Mark in the passage, alive or dead." 

"And now you don't think so ?" 

"Now I think that his dead body is there." 

"Meaning that Cayley went down and killed him 
afterwards — after you had come, after the police had 
come ?" 

"Well, that's what I shrink from, BilL It's so 


horribly cold-blooded. Cayley may be capable of it, 
but I bate to think of it" 

"But, dash it all, your other way is cold-blooded 
Mbtagh. According to you, he goes up to the office 
and deliberately shoots a man with whom he has 
no quarrel, whom he hasn't seen for fifteen 

"Yes, but to save his own neck. That makes a 
difference. My theory is that he quarrelled violently 
with Mark over the girl, and killed him in sudden 
passion. Anything that happened after that would 
be self-defence. I don't mean that I excuse it, but 
that I understand it And I think that Mark's dead 
body is in the passage now, and has been there since, 
say, half-past two yesterday afternoon. And to-night 
Cayley is going to hide it in the pond." 

Bill pulled at the moss on the ground beside him, 
threw away a handful or two, and said slowly, "You 
may be right, but it's all guess-work, you know." 

Antony laughed. 

"Good Lord, of course it is," he said. "And to- 
night we shall know if it's a good guess or a bad 

Bill brightened up suddenly. 

"To-night," he said. "I say, to-night's going to 
be rather fun. How do we work it V 

Antony was silent for a little. 

"Of course," he said at last, "we ought to inform 
the police, so that they can come here and watch the 
pond to-night" 


"Of course," grinned BilL 

"But I think that perhaps it is a little early to 
put our theories hefore them." 

"I think perhaps it is," said Bill solemnly. 

Antony looked up at him with a sudden smile. 

"Bill, you old bounder." 

"Well, dash it, it's our show. I don't see why we 
shouldn't get our little bit of fun out of it." 

"Neither do I. All right, then, we'll do without 
the police to-night" 

"We shall miss them," said Bill sadly, "but 'tis 
better so." 

There were two problems in front of them: first, 
the problem of getting out of the house without being 
discovered by Cayley, and secondly, the problem of 
recovering whatever it was which Cayley dropped 
into the pond that night 

"Let's look at it from Cayley's point of view," 
said Antony. "He may not know that we're on his 
track, but he can't help being suspicious of us. He's 
bound to be suspicious of everybody in the house, 
and more particularly of us, because we're presum- 
ably more intelligent than the others." 

He stopped for a moment to light his pipe, and 
Bill took the opportunity of looking more intelligent 
than Mrs. Stevens. 

"Now, he has got something to hide to-night, and 
he's going to take good care that we aren't watching 
him. Well, what will he do ?" 

"See that we are asleep first, before he starts out" 


"Yes. Come and tuck iu up, and see that we're 
sice and comfortable." 

"Yes, that's awkward," said Bill "But we could 
lock our doors, and then he wouldn't know that we 
weren't there." 

"Have you ever locked your door!" 


"No. And you can bet that Cayley knows that. 
Anyway, he'd bang on it, and you wouldn't answer, 
and then what would he think?" 

Bill was silent; crushed. 

"Then I don't see how we're going to do it," he 
said, after deep thought. "He'll obviously come to 
us just before he starts out, and that doesn't give us 
time to get to the pond in front of him." 

"Let's put ourselves in his place," said Antony, 
puffing slowly at his pipe. "He's got the body, or 
whatever it is, in the passage. He won't come up 
the stairs, carrying it in his arms, and look in at 
our doors to see if we're awake. He'll have to make 
sure about us first, and then go down for the 
body afterwards. So that gives us a little 

"Y— yes," said Bill thoughtfully. "We might 
just do it, but if 11 be a bit of a rush." 

"But wait. When he's gone down to the passage 
and got the body, what will he do next?" 

"Come out again," said Bill helpfully. 

"Yes; but which end?" 

Bill sat up with a start. 


"By Jove, you mean that he will go out at the 
far emd by the bowling-green?" 

"Don't yon think bo ? Just imagine him walking 
acron the lawn in full view of the house, at mid- 
night, with a body in his arms. Think of the awful 
feeling he would have in the back of the neck, won- 
dering if anybody, any restless sleeper, had chosen 
just that moment to wander to the window and look 
out into the night. There's still plenty of moonlight, 
Bill. Is he going to walk across the park in the 
moonlight, with all those windows staring at him? 
Not if he can help it. But he can get out by the 
bowling green, and then come to the pond without 
ever being in sight of the house at alL" 

"You're right. And that will just about give us 
time. Good. Now, what's the next thing?" 

"The next thing is to mark the exact place in 
the pond where he drops — whatever he drops." 

"So that we can fish it out again." 

"If we can see what it is, we shan't want to. The 
police can have a go at it to-morrow. But if it's 
something we can't identify from a distance, then we 
must try and get it out. To see whether it's worth 
telling the police about" 

"Y — yes," said Bill, wrinkling his forehead. "Of 
course, the trouble with water is that one bit of it 
looks pretty much like the next bit. I don't know 
if that had occurred to you." 

"It had," smiled Antony. "Let's come and have 
a look at it" 


They walked to the edge of the copse, and lay 
down there in silence, looking at the pond beneath 

"See anything?" said Antony at last. 


"The fence on the other side." 

"What about it?" 

"Well, it's rather useful, that's all* 

"Said Sherlock Holmes enigmatically," added 
BilL "A moment later, his friend Watson had 
hurled him into the pond." 

Antony laughed. 

"I love being Sherlocky," he said. "It's very 
unfair of you not to play up to me." 

"Why is that fence useful, my dear Holmes?" 
said Bill obediently. 

"Because you can take a bearing on it You 
see " 

"Yes, you needn't stop to explain to me what a 
bearing is." 

"I wasn't going to. But you're lying here" — he 
looked up — "underneath this pine-tree. Cayley 
comes out in the old boat and drops his parcel in. 
You take a line from here on to the boat, and mark 
it off on the fence there. Say it's the fifth post from 
the end. Well, then I take a line from my tree — 
we'll find one for me directly — and it comes on to 
the twentieth post, say. And where the two lines 
meet, there shall the eagles be gathered together. 
Q.E.D. And there, I almost forgot to remark, will 


the taller eagle, Beverley by name, do his famous 
diving act. As performed nightly at the Hippo- 

Bill looked at him uneasily. 

"I say, really? It's beastly dirty water, yon 

"I'm afraid so, Bill. So it is written in the book 
of Jasher." 

"Of course I knew that one of us would have to, 
but I hoped — oh, well, it's a warm night." 

"Just the night for a bathe," agreed Antony, 
getting np. "Well now, let's have a look for my 

They walked down to the margin of the pond and 
then looked back. Bill's tree stood up and took the 
evening, tall and unmistakable, fifty feet nearer to 
heaven than its neighbours. But it had its fellow at 
the other end of the copse, not quite so tall, perhaps, 
but equally conspicuous. 

"That's where I shall be," said Antony, pointing 
to it. "Now, for the Lord's sake, count your posts 

"Thanks very much, but I shall do it for my own 
sake," said Bill with feeling. "I don't want to spend 
the whole night diving." 

"Fix on the post in a straight line with you and 
the splash, and then count backwards to the begin- 
ning of the fence." 

"Right, old boy. Leave it to me. I can do thi» 
on my head." 


"Well, that's how you will have to do the last part 
of it," said Antony with a smile. 

He looked at his watch. It was nearly time to 
change for dinner. They started to walk back to the 
house together. 

"There's one thing which worries me rather," said 
Antony. "Where does Cayley sleep?" 

"Next door to me. Why?" 

"Well, it's just possible that he might have an- 
other look at you after he's come back from the pond. 
I don't think he'd bother about it in the ordinary 
way, but if he is actually passing your door, I think 
he might glance in." 

"I shan't be there. I shall be at the bottom of the 
pond, sucking up mud." 

"Yes. . . . Do you think you could leave some- 
thing in your bed that looked vaguely like you in the 
dark? A bolster with a py jama-coat round it, and 
one arm outside the blanket, and a pair of socks or 
something for the head. You know the kind of thing. 
I think it would please him to feel that you were 
still sleeping peacefully." 

Bill chuckled to himself. 

"Rather. I'm awfully good at that I'll make 
him up something really good. But what about 

"I'm at the other end of the house; he's hardly 
likely to bother about me a second time. And I Bhall 
be so very fast asleep at his first visit. Still, I may 
as well — to be on the safe side." 


They went into the house. Cayley was in the hall 
as they came in. He nodded, and took out his 

"Time to change ?" he said. 

"Just about," said Bill. 

"You didn't forget my letter V 

"I did not In fact, we had tea there." 

"Ah!" He looked away and said carelessly, 
"How were they all?" 

"They sent all sorts of sympathetic messages to 
you, and — and all that sort of thing." 

"Oh, yes." 

Bill waited for him to say something more, and 
then, as nothing was coming, he turned round, said, 
"Come on, Tony," and led the way upstairs. 

"Got all you want?" he said at the top of the 

"I think so. Come and see me before you go 


Antony shut his bedroom door behind him and 
walked over to the window. He pushed open a case- 
ment and looked out. His bedroom was Just over 
the door at the back of the house. The side wall of 
the office, which projected out into the lawn beyond 
the rest of the house, was on his left. He could 
step out on to the top of the door, and from there 
drop easily to the ground. Getting back would be 
little more difficult. There was a convenient water- 
pipe which would help. 


He bad just finished his dressing when Bill came 

"Final instructions!" he asked, sitting down on 
the bed. "By the way, how are we amusing our- 
selves after dinner? I mean immediately after 


"Righto. Anything you like." 

"Don't talk too loud," said Antony in a lower 
voice. "We're more or less over the hall, and Cay- 
ley may be there." He led the way to the window. 
"We'll go out this way to-night. Going downstairs 
is too risky. It's easy enough ; better put on tennis- 

"Bight I say, in case I don't get another chance 
alone with you — what do I do when Cayley comes 
to tuck me up ?" 

"It's difficult to say. Be as natural as you can. 
I mean, if he just knocks lightly and looks in, be 
asleep. Don't overdo the snoring. But if he makes 
a hell of a noise, you'll have to wake up and rah 
your eyes, and wonder what on earth he's doing in 
your room at all. You know the sort of thing." 

"Right And about the dummy figure. I'll make 
it up directly we come upstairs, and hide it under 
the bed." 

"Yes. ... I think we'd better go completely to 
bed ourselves. We shan't take a moment dressing 
again, and it will give him time to get safely into 
the passage. Then come into my room." 


"Eight . . . hj* you ready!" 


They went downstairs together 



CAYLEY seemed very fond of them that night. 
After dinner was over, he suggested a stroll 
outside. They walked up and down the gravel in 
front of the house, saying very little to each other, 
until Bill could stand it no longer. For the last 
twenty turns he had been slowing down hopefully 
each time they came to the door, but the hint had 
always been lost on his companions, and each time 
another turn had been taken. But in the end he had 
been firm. 

"What about a little billiards}" he said, shaking 
himself free from the others. 

"Will you play ?" said Antony to Cayley. 

"I'll watch you," he said, and he had watched 
them resolutely until the game, and then another 
game after that, had been played. 

They went into the hall and attacked the drinks. 

"Well, thank heaven for bed," said Bill, putting 
down his glass. "Are you coming?" 

"Yes," said Antony, and finished his drink. He 
looked at Cayley. 


"I've just got one or two little things to do," said 
Cayley. "I shan't be long following you." 

"Well, good night, then." 

"Good night." 

"Good night," called Bill from half-way up the 
stairs. "Good night, Tony." 

"Good night." 

Bill looked at his watch. Half-past eleven. Not 
much chance of anything happening for another 
hour. He pulled open a drawer and wondered what 
to wear on their expedition. Grey flannel trousers, 
flannel shirt, and a dark coat ; perhaps a sweater, as 
they might be lying out in the copse for some time. 
And — good idea — a towel. He would want it later 
on, and meanwhile he could wear it round his waist. 
. . . Tennis-shoes. . . . There! Everything was 
ready. Now then for the dummy figure. . . . 

He looked at his watch again before getting into 
bed. Twelve-fifteen. How long to wait before Cay- 
ley came up? He turned out the light, and then, 
standing by the door in his pyjamas, waited for hiB 
eyes to become accustomed to the new darkness. . . . 
He could only just make out the bed in the corner 
of the room. Cayley would want more light than 
that if he were to satisfy himself from the door that 
the bed was occupied. He pulled the curtains a 
little way back. That was about right He could 
have another look later on, when he had the dummy 
figure in the bed. . . . 

How long would it be before Cayley came up? 


It wasn't that he wanted his friends, Beverley and 
Gillingham, to be asleep before he started on his 
business at the pond; all that he wanted was to be 
snre that they were safely in their bedrooms. Cay- 
ley's business would make no noise, give no sign, to 
attract the most wakeful member of the household, 
so long as the household was really inside the house. 
But if he wished to reassure himself about his 
guests, he would have to wait until they were far 
enough on their way to sleep not to be disturbed by 
him as he came up to re-assure himself. So it 
amounted to the same thing, really. He would wait 
until they were asleep . . . until they were asleep 

• • • cloKJUp* • • • 

With a great effort Bill regained the mastery over 
his wandering thoughts and came awake again. 
This would never do. It would be fatal if he went 
to sleep ... if he went to sleep ... to sleep. . . . 
And then, in an instant, he was intensely awake. 
Suppose Cayley never came at all ! 

Suppose Cayley was so unsuspicious that, as soon 
as they had gone upstairs, he had dived down into 
the passage and set about his business. Suppose, 
even now, he was at the pond, dropping into it that 
secret of his. Good heavens, what fools they had 
been! How could Antony have taken such a risk? 
Put yourself in Cayley's place, he had said. But 
how was it possible? They weren't Cayley. Cay- 
ley was at the pond now. They would never know 
what he had dropped into it. 


Listen! . . . Somebody at the door. He was 
asleep. Quite naturally now. Breathe a little more 
loudly, perhaps. He was asleep. . . . The door was 
opening. He could feel it opening behind him. . . . 
Good Lord, suppose Cayley really wkw a murderer 1 
Why, even now he might be — no, he mustn't think 
of that. If he thought of that, he would have to 
turn round. He mustn't turn round. He was 
asleep; just peacefully asleep. But why didn't the 
door shut? Where was Cayley now! Just behind 
him ? And in his hand — no, he mustn't think of that 
He was asleep. But why didn't the door shut ? 

The door was shutting. There was a sigh from 
the sleeper in the bed, a sigh of relief which escaped 
him involuntarily. But it had a very natural sound 
— a deep breath from a heavy sleeper. He added 
another one to it to make it seem more natural. The 
door was shut. . . . 

Bill counted a hundred slowly and then got up. 
As quickly and as noiselessly as possible he dressed 
himself in the dark. He put the dummy figure in 
the bed, arranged the clothes so that just enough 
but not too much of it was showing, and stood by the 
door looking at it. For a casual glance the room 
was just about light enough. Then very quietly, 
very slowly he opened the door. All was still. There 
was no light from beneath the door of Cayley' s room. 
Very quietly, very carefully he crept along the pas- 
sage to Antony's room. He opened the door and 
went in. 


Antony -was still in bed. Bill walked across to 
wake him up, and then stopped rigid, and his heart 
thumped against his ribs. There was somebody else 
in the room. 

"All right, Bill," said a whispering voice, and 
Antony stepped out from the curtains. 

Bill gazed at him without saying anything. 

"Rather good, isn't it?" said Antony, coming 
closer and pointing to the bed. "Come on; the 
sooner we get out now, the better." 

He led the way out of the window, the silent Bill 
following him. They reached the ground safely and 
noiselessly, went quickly across the lawn and so over 
the fence, into the park. It was not until they were 
out of sight of the house that Bill felt it safe to 

"I quite thought it was you in bed," he said. 

"I hoped you would. I shall be rather disap- 
pointed now if Cayley doesn't call again. It's a 
pity to waste it." 

"He came all right just now?" 

"Oh, rather. What about you?" 

Bill explained his feelings picturesquely. 

"There wouldn't have been much point in his kill- 
ing you," said Antony prosaically. "Besides being 
too risky." 

"Oh !" said Bill. And then, "I had rather hoped 
that it was his love for me which restrained 

Antony laughed. 


"I doubt it . . . You didn't turn up your light 
when you dressed?" 

"Good Lord, no. Did you want me to?" 

Antony laughed again and took him by the arm. 

"You're a splendid conspirator, Bill. You and 
I could take on anything together." 

The pond wag waiting for them, more solemn in 
the moonlight The trees which crowned the slop- 
ing bank on the far side of it were mysteriously 
silent It seemed that they had the world very much 
to themselves. 

Almost unconsciously Antony spoke in a whisper. 

"There's your tree, there's mine. As long as you 
don't move, there's no chance of his seeing you. 
After he's gone, don't come out till I do. He won't 
be here for a quarter of an hour or so, so don't be 

"Righto," whispered BilL 

Antony gave him a nod and a smile, and they 
walked off to their posts. 

The minutes went by slowly. To Antony, lying 
hidden in the undergrowth at the foot of his tree, 
a new problem was presenting itself. Suppose Cayley 
had to make more than one journey that night ? He 
might come back to find them in the boat; one of 
them, indeed, in the water. And if they decided to 
wait in hiding, on the chance of Cayley coming 
back again, what was the least time they could safely 
allow? Perhaps it would be better to go round to 
the front of the house and watch for his return there, 


the light in his bedroom, before conducting tbeir 
experiments at the pond. But then they might miss 
his second Visit in this way, if he made a second visit. 
It was difficult. 

His eyes were fixed on the boat as he considered 
these things, and suddenly, as if materialized from 
nowhere, Cayley was standing by the boat. In his 
hand was a small brown bag. 

Cayley put the bag in the bottom of the boat, 
stepped in, and using an oar as a punt-pole, pushed 
slowly off. Then, very silently, he rowed towards 
the middle of the pond. . . . 

He had stopped. The oars rested on the water. 
He picked up the bag from between his feet, leant 
over the nose of the boat, and rested it lightly on 
the water for a moment. Then he let go. It sank 
slowly. He waited there, watching; afraid, perhaps, 
that it might rise again. 

Antony began to count. . . . 

And now Cayley was back at his starting-place. 
He tied up the boat, looked carefully round to see 
that he had left no traces behind him, and then 
turned to the water again. For a long time, as it 
seemed to the watchers, he stood there, very big, 
very silent, in the moonlight. At last he seemed 
satisfied. Whatever his secret was, he had hidden 
it; and so with a gentle sigh, as unmistakable to 
Antony as if he had heard it, Cayley turned away 
and vanished again as quietly as he had come. 

Antony gave him three minutes, and stepped ©Ht 


from the trees. He waited there for Bill to Join him. 

"Six," whispered Bill. 

Antony nodded. 

"I'm going round to the front of the house. You 
get back to your tree and -watch, in case Cayley 
comes again. Your bedroom is the leftrhand end 
one, and Cayley's the end but one ? Is that right V 

Bill nodded. 

"Right Wait in hiding till I come back. I don't 
know how long I shall be, but don't be impatient. 
It will seem longer than it is." He patted Bill on 
the shoulder, and with a smile and a nod of the 
head he left him there. 

What was in the bag? What could Cayley want 
to hide other than a key or a revolver? Keys and 
revolvers sink of themselves; no need to put them 
in a bag first. What was in the bag? Something 
which wouldn't sink of iteelf; something which 
needed to be helped with stones before it would hide 
itself safely in the mud. 

Well, they would find that out. There was no 
object in worrying about it now. Bill had a dirty 
night's work in front of him. But where was the 
body which Antony had expected so confidently or, 
if there were no body, where was Mark ? 

More immediately, however, where was Cayley? 
As quickly as he could Antony had got to the front 
of the house and was now lying in the shrubbery 
which bordered the lawn, waiting for the light to 
gp up in Cayley's window. If it went *p in Bill's 


window, then they were discovered. It would mean 
that Cayley had glanced into Bill's room, had been 
suspicious of the dummy figure in the bed, and had 
turned up the light to make sure. After that, it was 
war between them. But if it went up in Cayley's 

There was a light. Antony felt a sudden thrill of 
excitement It was in Bill's room. War! 

The light stayed there, shining vividly, for a wind 
had come up, blowing the moon behind a cloud, and 
casting a shadow over the rest of the house. BUI had 
left his curtains undrawn. It was careless of him; 
the first stupid thing he had done, but 

The moon slipped out again . . . and Antony 
laughed to himself in the bushes. There was an- 
other window beyond Cayley's, and there was no 
light in it The declaration of war was postponed. 

Antony lay there, watching Cayley into bed. 
After all, it was only polite to return Cayley's own 
solicitude earlier in the night. Politeness demanded 
that one should not disport oneself on the pond until 
one's friends were comfortably tucked up. 

Meanwhile Bill was getting tired of waiting. His 
chief fear was that he might spoil everything by for- 
getting the number "six." It was the sixth post 
Six. He broke off a twig and divided it into six 
pieces. These he arranged on the ground in front 
of him. Six. He looked at the pond, counted up 
to the sixth post, and murmured "six" to himself 
again. Then he looked down at his twigs. One — 


two — three — four — five — six — seven. Seven! Was 
it seven ? Or was that seventh bit of a twig an acci- 
dental bit which had been on the ground anyhow? 
Surely it was six! Had he said "six" to Antony? 
If so, Antony would remember, and it was all right. 
Six. He threw away the seventh twig and collected 
the other six together. Perhaps they would be safer 
in his pocket Six. The height of a tall man — 
well, his own height Six feet Yes, that was the 
way to remember it. Feeling a little safer on the 
point, he began to wonder about the bag, and what 
Antony would say to it, and the possible depth of 
the water and of the mud at the bottom; and was 
still so wondering, and saying, "Good Lord, what a 
life!" to himself, when Antony reappeared. 

Bill got up and came down the slope to meet him. 

"Six," he said firmly. "Sixth post from the end." 

"Good," smiled Antony. "Mine was the eight- 
eenth — a little way past it" 

"What did you go off for?" 

"To see Cayley into bed." 

"Is it all right?" 

''Yes. Better hang your coat over the sixth post, 
and then we shall see it more easily. I'll put mine 
on the eighteenth. Are you going to undress here 
or in the boat?" 

"Some here, and some in the boat. You're quite 
sure that you wouldn't like to do the diving your- 

"Quite, thanks." 


They had walked round to the ether side of the 
pond. Coming to the sixth post of the fence, Bill 
took off his coat and put it in position, and then 
finished his undressing, while Antony went off to 
mark the eighteenth post. When they were ready, 
they got into the boat, Antony taking the oars. 

"Now, Bill, tell me as soon as I'm in a line with 
your two marks." 

He rowed slowly towards the middle of the pond. 

"You're about there now," said Bill at last. 

Antony stopped rowing and looked about him. 

"Yes, that's pretty well right" He turned the 
boat's nose round until it was pointing to the pine- 
tree under which Bill had lain. "You see my tree 
and the other coat?" 

"Yes," said Bill. 

"Bight. Now then, I'm going to row gently along 
this line until we're dead in between the two. Get 
it as exact as you can — for your own sake." 

"Steady!" said Bill warningly. "Back a little 
... a little more ... a little more forward again 
. . . Eight." 

Antony left the oars on the water and looked 
round. As far as he could tell, they were in an 
exact line with each pair of landmarks. 

"Now then, Bill, in you go." 

Bill pulled off his shirt and trousers and stood up. 

"You mustn't dive from the boat, old boy," said 
Antony hastily. "You'll shift its position. Slide 
in gently." 


B ; ll slid in from the stern and swam slowly round 
to Antony. 

"What's it like?" said Antony. 

"Cold. Well, here's luck to it." 

He gave a sudden kick, flashed for a moment in 
the water, and was gone. Antony steadied the boat, 
and took another look at his landmarks. 

Bill came up behind him with a loud explosion. 

"It's pretty muddy," he protested. 


"No, thank the Lord." 

"Well, try again." 

Bill gave another kick and disappeared. Again 
Antony coaxed the boat back into position, and again 
Bill popped up, this time in front of him. 

"I feel that if I threw you a sardine," said An- 
tony, with a smile, "you'd catch it in your mouth 
quite easily." 

"It's awfully easy to be funny from where you 
are. How much longer have I got to go on doing 

Antony looked at his watch. 

"About three hours. We must get back before 
daylight But be quicker if you can, because it's 
rather cold for me sitting here." 

Bill flicked a handful of water at him and dip- 
appeared again. He was under for almost a minute 
this time, and there was a grin on his face when il 
was visible again. 


"I've got it, but it's devilish hard to get up. I'm 
not sure that it isn't too heavy for me." 

"That's all right," said Antony. He brought out 
a ball of thick string from his pocket. "Get this 
through the handle if you can, and then we can 
both pull." 

"Good man." He paddled to the side, took one 
end of the string and paddled back again. "Now 

Two minutes later the bag was safely in the boat. 
Bill clambered in after it, and Antony rowed back. 

"Well done, Watson," he said quietly, as they 

He fetched their two coats, and then waited, the 
bag in his hand, while Bill dried and dressed him- 
self. As soon as the latter was ready, he took his 
arm and led him into the copse. He put the bag 
down and felt in his pockets. 

"I shall light a pipe before I open it," he said. 
"What about you ?" 


They sat down, and taking the bag between his 
knees, Antony pressed the catch and opened it. 

"Clothes!" said Bill. 

Antony pulled out the top garment and shsok it 
out. It was a wet brown flannel coat. 

"Do you recognize it?" he asked. 

"Mark's brown flannel suit." 

"The one he is advertised as having run away in t" 


"Yes. It looks like it. Of course he had a dashed 
lot of clothes." 

Amosy put his hand in the breast-pocket and took 
out some letters. He considered them doubtfully for 
a moment. 

"I suppose I'd better read them," he said. "I 

mean, just to see " He looked inquiringly at 

Bill, who nodded. Antony turned on his torch and 
glanced at them. Bill waited anxiously. 

"Yes. Mark. . . . Hallo!" 

"What is it ?" 

"The letter that Cayley was telling the inspector 
about. From Robert. 'Mark, your loving brother 

is coming to see you ' Yes, I suppose I had 

better keep this. Well, that's his coat. Let's have 
out the rest of it" He took the remaining clothes 
from the bag and spread them out 

"They're all here," said Bill. "Shirt, tie, socks, 
underclothes, shoes — yes, all of them." 

"All that he was wearing yesterday ?" 


"What do you make of it?" 

Bill shook his head, and asked another question. 

"Is it what you expected ?" 

Antony laughed suddenly. 

"It's too absurd," he said. "I expected — well, 
you know what I expected. A body. A body in a 
suit of clothes. Well, perhaps it would be safer to 
hide them separately. The body here, and the 
clothes in the passage, where they would never be- 


tray themselves. And now he takes a great deal of 
trouble to hide the clothes here, and doesn't bother 
about the body at all." He shook his head. "I'm 
* bit lost for the moment, Bill, and that's the fact." 

"Anything else there?" 

Antony felt in the bag. 
. "Stones and — yes, there's something else." He 
took it out and held it up. "There we are, Bill.-' 

It was the office key. 

"By Jove, you were right." 

Antony felt in the bag again, and then turned it 
gently upside down on the grass. A dozen large 
stones fell out — and something else. He flashed 
down his torch. 

"Another key," he said. 

He put the two keys in his pocket, and sat there 
for a long time in silence, thinking. Bill was silent, 
too, not liking to interrupt his thoughts, but at last 
he said: 

"Shall I put these things back, Tony t" 

Antony looked up with a start. 

"What? Oh, yes. No, I'll put them back. You 
give me a light, will you?" 

Very slowly and carefully he put the clothes back 
in the bag, pausing as he took up each garment, in 
the certainty, as it seemed to Bill, that it had some- 
thing to tell him if only he could read it. When 
the last of them was inside, he still waited there on 
his knees, thinking. 

"That's the lot," said BilL 


Antony nodded at him. 

"Yes, that's the lot," he said; "and that's the 
funny thing about it You're sure it is the lot 1" 
"What do you mean?" 

"Give me the torch a moment" He took it and 
flashed it over the ground between them. "Yes, 
that's the lot It's funny." He stood up, the bag 
in hia hands. "Now lef s find a hiding-place for 

these, and then " He said no more, but stepped 

off through the trees, Bill following him meekly. 

As soon as they had got the bag off their hands 
and were clear of the copse, Antony became more 
communicative. He took the two keys out of his 

"One of them is the office key, I suppose, and the 
other is the key of the passage cupboard. So I 
thought that perhaps we might have a look at the 

"I say, do you really think it is ?" 
"Well, I don't see what else it can be." 
"But why should he want to throw it away?" 
"Because it has now done its work, whatever it 
was, and he wants to wash his hands of the passage. 
He'd throw the passage away if he could. I don't 
think it matters much one way or another, and I 
don't suppose there's anything to find in the cup- 
board, but I feel that we must look." 

"Do you still think Mark's body might be there ?" 
"No. And yet where else can it be ) Unless I'm 


hopelessly wrong and Caylev never killed him at 

Bill hesitated, wondering if he dare advance his 

"I know you'll think me an ass " 

"My dear Bill, I'm such an obvious ass myself 
that I should be delighted to think you are too." 

"Well, then suppose Mark did kill Robert, and 
Cayley helped him to escape, just as we thought at 
first. I know you proved afterwards that it was 
impossible, but suppose it happened in a way we 
don't know about and for reasons we don't know 
about. I mean, there are such a lot of funny things 
about the whole show that — well, almost anything 
might have happened." 

"You're quite right. Weill" 

"Well, then, this clothes business. Doesn't that 
seem rather to bear out the escaping theory ? Mark's 
brown suit was known to the police. Couldn't Cay- 
ley have brought him another one in the passage, to 
escape in, and then have had the brown one on his 
hands! And thought it safest to hide it in the 

"Yes," said Antony thoughtfully. And then: 
"Go on." 

Bill went on eagerly: 

"It all seems to fit in, you know. I mean even 
with your first theory — that Mark killed him acci- 
dentally and then came to Cayley for help. Of 


course, if Cayley had played fair, he'd have told 
Mark that he had nothing to he afraid of. But he 
isn't playing fair; he wants to get Mark out of the 
way because of the girl. Well, this is his chance. 
He makes Mark as frightened as possible, and tells 
him that his only hope is to run away. Well, natu- 
rally, be does all he can to get him well away, be- 
cause if Mark is caught, the whole story of Cayley's 
treachery comes out" 

"Yes. But isn't it overdoing it rather to make 
him change his underclothes and everything? It 
wastes a good deal of time, you know." 

Bill was pulled up short, and said, "Oh !" in great 

"No, it's not as bad as that, Bill," said Antony 
with a smile. "I daresay the underclothes could be 
explained. But here's the difficulty. Why did Mark 
need to change from brown to blue, or whatever it 
was, when Cayley was the only person who saw him 
in brown?" 

"The police description of him says that he is in 
a brown suit." 

"Yes, because Cayley told the police. You see, 
even if Mark had had lunch in his brown suit, and 
the servants had noticed it, Cayley could always have 
pretended that he had changed into blue after lunch, 
because only Cayley saw him afterwards. So if 
Cayley had told the inspector that he was wearing 
blue, Mark could have escaped quite comfortably in 
his brown, without needing to change at alL" 


"But that's just what he did do," cried Bill trium- 
phantly. "What fools we are!" 

Antony looked at him in surprise, and then shook 
his head. 

"Yes, yes!" insisted Bill. "Of course! Don't 
you see t Mark did change after lunch, and, to give 
him more of a chance of getting away, Cayley lied 
and said that he was wearing the hrown suit in which 
the servants had seen him. Well, then he was afraid 
that the police might examine Mark's clothes and 
find the hrown suit still there, so he hid it, and then 
dropped it in the pond afterwards." 

He turned eagerly to his friend, but Antony said 
nothing. Bill began to speak again, and was prompt- 
ly waved into silence. 

"Don't say anything more, old boy; you've given 
me quite enough to think about. Don't let's bother 
about it to-night. We'll just have a look at this cup- 
board and then get to bed." 

But the cupboard had not much to tell them that 
night. It was empty save for a few old bottles. 

"Well, that's that," said Bill. 

But Antony, orChia knees with the torch in bis 
hand, continued to search for something. 

"What are you looking for ?" asked Bill at last. 

"Something that isn't there," said Antony, getting 
up and dusting his trousers. And he locked ih» 
door again. 

ohaptbb rvm 

THE inquest was at three o'clock; thereafter 
Antony could have no claim on the hospitality 
of the Red House. By ten o'clock his bag was 
packed, and waiting to be taken to the "George." 
To Bill, coming upstairs after a more prolonged 
breakfast, this early morning bustle was a little pur- 

"What's the hurry?" he asked. 

"None. But we don't want to come back here 
after the inquest. Get your packing over now and 
then we can have the morning to ourselves." 

"Righto." He turned to go to his room, and then 
came back again. "I say, are we going to tell CayJey 
that we're staying at the 'George' ?" 

"You're not staying at the 'George,' Bill. Not 
officially. You're going back to London." 


"Yes. Ask Cayley to have your luggage sent in 
to Stanton, ready for you to catch a train there after 
the inquest You can tell him that you've got to 
see the Bishop of London at once. The fact that 



you are lurrying back to London to be confirmed 
will make it seem more natural that I should re- 
sume my interrupted solitude at the 'George' as soon 
as you have gone." 

"Then where do I sleep to-night ?" 

"Officially, I suppose, in Fulham Palace; unoffi- 
cially, I suspect, in my bed, unless they've got an- 
other spare room at the 'George.' I've put in your 
confirmation robe — I mean your pyjamas and 
brushes and things — in my bag, ready for you. Is 
there anything else you want to know ? No ? Then 
go and pack. And meet me at ten-thirty beneath 
the blasted oak or in the hall or somewhera I want 
to talk and talk and talk, and I must have my 

"Good," said Bill, and went off to his room. 

An hour later, having communicated their official 
plans to Cayley, they wandered out together into the 

"Well ?" said Bill, as they sat down underneath a 
convenient tree. "Talk away." 

"I had many bright thoughts in my bath this 
morning," began Antony. "The brightest one of all 
was that we were being damn fools, and working at 
this thing from the wrong end altogether." 

"Well, that's a helpful thought" 

"Of course it's very hampering being a detective, 
when you don't know anything about detecting, and 
when nobody knows that you're doing detection, and 
you can't have people up to cross-examine them, and 


yon have neither the energy nor the means to make 
proper inquiries; and, in short, when you're doing 
the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard 

"For amateurs I don't think we're doing at all 
badly," protested Bill 

"No; not for amateurs. But if we had been pro- 
fessionals, I believe we should have gone at it from 
the other end. The Robert end. We've been won- 
dring about Mark and Cayley all the time. Now 
let's wonder about Robert for a bit." 

"We know so little about him." 

"Well, let's see what we do know. "First of all, 
then, we know vaguely that he was a bad lot — the 
sort of brother who is hushed up in front of other 


"We know that he announced his approaching 
arrival to Mark in a rather unpleasant letter, which 
I have in my pocket." 


"And then we know rather a curious thing. We 
know that Mark told you all that this black sheep 
was coming. Now, why did he tell you ?" 

Bill was thoughtful for a moment. 

"I suppose," he said slowly, "that he knew we 
were bound to see him, and thought that the best way 
was to be quite frank about him." 

"But were you bound to see him ? You were all 
away playing golf." 


"Very well, then. That's one thing we've dis- 
covered. Mark knew that Robert was staying in the 
house that night. Or shall we put it this way — he 
knew that there was no chance of getting Robert out 
of the house at once." 

Bill looked at his friend eagerly. 

"Go on," he said. "This is getting interesting." 

"He also knew something else," went on Antony. 
"He knew that Robert was bound to betray his real 
character to you as soon as you met him. He 
couldn't pass him off on you as just a travelled 
brother from the Dominions, with perhaps a hit of 
an accent; he had to tell you at once, because you 
were bound to find out, that Robert was a wastrel." 

"Yes. That's sound enough." 

"Well, now, doesn't it strike you that Mark made 
up his mind about all that rather quickly?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"He got this letter at breakfast. He read it ; and 
directly he had read it he began to confide in you 
all. That is to say, in about one second he thought 
out the whole business and came to a decision — to 
two decisions. He considered the possibility of get- 
ting Robert out of the way before you came back, 
and decided that it was impossible. He considered 
the possibility of Robert's behaving like an ordinary 
decent person in public, and decided that it was very 
unlikely. He came to those two decisions instan- 
taneously, as he was reading the letter. Isn't that 
rather quick work!" 


"Well, what's the explanation V 

Antony waited until he had refilled and lighted 
his pipe before answering. 

"What's the explanation 1 Well, let's leave it for 
a moment and take another look at the two brothers. 
In conjunction, this time, with Mrs. Norbury." 

"Mrs. Norbury?" said Bill, surprised. 

"Yes. Mark hoped to marry Miss Norbury. 
Now, if Eobert really was a blot upon the family 
honour, Mark would want to do one of two things. 
Either keep it from the Norburys altogether, or else, 
if it had to come out, tell them himself before the 
news came to them indirectly. Well, he told them. 
But the funny thing is that he told them the day 
before Robert's letter came. Robert came, and was 
killed, the day before yesterday — Tuesday. Mark 
told Mrs. Norbury about him on Monday. What 
do you make of that?" 

"Coincidence," said Bill, after careful thought 
"He'd always meant to tell her; his suit was pros- 
pering, and just before it was finally settled, he told 
her. That happened to be Monday. On Tuesday 
he got Robert's letter, and felt jolly glad that he'd 
told her in time." 

"Well, it might be that, but it's rather a curious 
coincidence. And here is something which makes 
it very curious indeed. It only occurred to me in 
the bath this morning. Inspiring place, a bathroom. 
Well, it's this — he told her on Monday morning, on 
his way to Middleston in the car." 


"Well r 


"Sorry, Tony; I'm dense this morning." 

"In the car, BilL And how near can the ear get 
to Jallands?" 

"About six hundred yards." 

"Yes. And on his way to Middleston, on pome 
business or other, Mark stops the car, walks six hun- 
dred yards down the hill to Jallands, says, 'Oh, by 
the way, Mrs. Norbury, I don't think I ever told 
you that I have a shady brother called Robert,' walks 
six hundred yards up the hill again, gets into the 
car, and goes off to Middleston. Is that likely?" 

Bill frowned heavily. 

"Yes, but I don't see what you're getting at. 
Likely or not likely, we know he did do it." 

"Of course he did. All I mean is that he must 
have had some strong reason for telling Mrs. Nor- 
bury at once. And the reason I suggest is that he 
knew on that morning — Monday morning, not Tues- 
day — that Robert was coming to see him, and had 
to be in first with the news." 

"But— but " 

"And that would explain the other point — his in- 
stantaneous decision at breakfast to tell you all about 
his brother. It wasn't instantaneous. He knew on 
Monday that Robert was coming, and decided then 
that you would all have to know." 

"Then how do you explain the letter J" 

"Well, let's have a look at it." 


— Antony took the letter from his pocket and. 
■pread it oat on the grass between them. 

"Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you 
to-morrow, all the way from Australia. I give you 
warning so that you will be able to conceal your sur- 
prise but not I hope your pleasure. Expect him at 
three or thereabouts." 

"No date mentioned, you see," said Antony. "Jiut 
'to»morrow.' " 

"But he got this on Tuesday." 

"Did he?" 

"Well, he read it out to us on Tuesday." 

"Oh, yes ! he read it out to you." 

Bill read the letter again, and then turned it over 
and looked at the back of it. The back of it had 
nothing to say to him. 

"What about the postmark?" he asked. 

"We haven't got the envelope, unfortunately." 

"And you think that he got this letter on Mon- 

"I'm inclined to think so, Bill. Anyhow, I think 
— I feel almost certain — that he knew on Monday 
that his brother was coming." 

"Is that going to help us much?" 

"No. It makes it more difficult. There's some- 
thing rather uncanny about it all. I don't under- 
stand it." He was silent for a little, and then added, 
"I wonder if the inquest is going to help us." 

"What about last night? I'm longing to hear 


•what you make of that Have you heen thinking 
it out at all ?" 

"Last night," said Antony thoughtfully to him- 
self. "Yes, last night wants some explaining." 

Bill waited hopefully for him to explain. What, 
for instance, had Antony heen looking for in the 
cuphoard ? 

"I think," hegan Antony slowly, "that after last 
night we must give up the idea that Mark has heen 
killed; killed, I mean, hy Cayley. I don't believe 
anybody would go to so much trouble to hide a suit 
of clothes when he had a body on his hands. The 
body would seem so much more important. I think 
we may take it now that the clothes are all that 
Cayley had to hide." 

"But why not have kept them in the passage V* 

"He was frightened of the passage. Miss Norris 
knew about it." 

"Well, then, in his own bedroom, or even in 
Mark's. For all you or I or anybody knew, Mark 
might have had two brown suits. He probably had, 
I should think." 

"Probably. But I doubt if that would reassure 
Cayley. The brown suit hid a secret, and therefore 
the brown suit had to be hidden. We all know that 
in theory the safest hiding-place is the most obvious, 
but in practice very few people have the nerve to 
risk it." 

Bill looked rather disappointed. 


"Then we just come back to where we were," he 
complained. "Mark killed his brother, and Cayley 
helped him to escape through the passage; either in 
order to compromise him, or because there was no 
other way out of it. And he helped him by telling 
a lie about his brown suit." 

Antony smiled at him in genuine amusement. 

"Bad luck, Bill," he said sympathetically. 
"There's only one murder, after all. I'm awfully 
sorry about it. It was my fault for " 

"Shut up, you ass. You know I didn't mean 

"Well, you seemed awfully disappointed." 

Bill said nothing for a little, and then with a 
sudden laugh confessed. 

"It was so exciting yesterday," he said apologeti- 
cally, "and we seemed to be just getting there, and 
discovering the most wonderful things, and now " 

"And now?" 

"Well, it's so much more ordinary." 

Antony gave a shout of laughter. 

"Ordinary!" he cried. "Oadinary! Well, I'm 
dashed I Ordinary 1 If only one thing would hap- 
pen in an ordinary way, we might do something, but 
everything is ridiculous." 

Bill brightened up again. 

"Ridiculous? How?" 

"Every way. Take those ridiculous clothes we 
found last night. You can explain the brown suit, 
but why the underclothes. You can explain the un- 


derclothes in some absurd way, if you Eke — you can 
Bay that Mark always changed his underclothes 
whenever he interviewed anybody from Australia — 
but why, in that cose, my dear Watson, why didn't 
he change his collar?" 

"His collar?" said Bill in amazement. 

"His collar, Watson." 

"I don't understand." 

"And it's all so ordinary," scoffed Antony. 

"Sorry, Tony, I didn't mean that. Tell me about 
the collar." 

"Well, that's all. There was bo collar in the bag 
last night. Shirt, socks, tie — everything except a 
collar. Why?" 

"Was that what you were looking for in the cup- 
board ?" said Bill eagerly. 

"Of course. 'Why no collar?' I said. For some 
reason Cayley considered it necessary to hide all 
Mark's clothes; not just the suit, but everything 
which he was wearing, or supposed to be wearing, 
at the time of the murder. But he hadn't hidden 
the collar. Why? Had he left it out by mistake? 
So I looked in the cupboard. It wasn't there. Had 
he left it out on purpose? If so, why — and where 
was it ? Naturally I began to say to myself, 'Where 
have I seen a collar lately? A collar all by itself V 
And I remembered — what, Bill?" 

Bill frowned heavily to himself, and shook his 

"Don't ask me, Tony. I can't— By Jovel" H« 


threw up his head. "In the basket in the office 
bedroom 1" 


"But is that the one!" 

"The one that goes with the rest of the clothes? 
I don't know. Where else can it be? But if so, 
why send the collar quite casually to the wash in the 
ordinary way, and take immense trouble to hide 
everything else? Why, why, why?" 

Bill bit hard at his pipe, but could think of noth- 
ing to say. 

"Anyhow," said Antony, getting up restlessly, 
"I'm certain of one thing. Mark knew on the Mon- 
day that Bobert was coming here." 



THE Coroner, having made a few commonplace 
remarks aa to the terrible nature of the tragedy 
which they had come to investigate that afternoon, 
proceeded to outline the case to the jury. Witnesses 
would be called to identify the deceased as Robert 
Ablett, the brother of the owner of the Red House, 
Mark Ablett. It would be shown that he was some- 
thing of a ne'er-do-well, who had spent most of his 
life in Australia, and that he had announced, in 
what might almost be called a threatening letter, his 
intention of visiting his brother that afternoon. 
There would be evidence of his arrival, of his being 
shown into the scene of the tragedy — a room in the 
Red House, commonly called "the office" — and of his 
brother's entrance into the room. The jury would 
have to form their own opinion as to what happened 
there. But whatever happened, happened almost 
instantaneously. Within two minutes of Mark 
Ablett's entrance, as would be shown in the evidence, 
a shot was heard, and when — perhaps five minutes 
later — the room was forced open, the dead body of 



Robert Ablett was found stretched upon the floor. 
As regards Mark Ablett, nobody had seen him from 
the moment of his going into the room, but evidence 
would be called to show that he had enough money 
on him at the time to take him to any other part of 
the country, and that a man answering to his de- 
scription had been observed on the platform of Stan- 
ton station, apparently waiting to catch the 3.55 up 
train to London. As the jury would realize, such 
evidence of identity was not always reliable. Miss- 
ing men had a way of being seen in a dozen different 
places at once. In any case, there was no doubt that 
for the moment Mark Ablett had disappeared. 

"Seems a sound man," whispered Antony to Bill, 
and Bill nodded. "Doesn't talk too much." 

Antony did not expect to learn much from the 
evidence — he knew the facts of the case so well by 
now — but he wondered if Inspector Birch had de- 
veloped any new theories. If so, they would appear 
in the Coroner's examination, for the Coroner would 
certainly have been coached by the police as to the 
important facts to be extracted from each witness. 
Bill was the first to be put through it. 

"Now, about this letter, Mr. Beverley?" he was 
asked when his chief evidence was over. "Did you 
see it at all ?" 

"I didn't see the actual writing. I saw the back 
of it Mark was holding it up when he told us 
about his brother." 

"You don't know what was in it, then 1" 


Bill had a sudden shock. He had read the letter 
only that morning. He knew quite well what was 
in it. But it wouldn't do to admit this. And then, 
just as he was about to perjure himself, he remem- 
bered: Antony had heard Cayley telling the in- 

"I knew afterwards. I was told. But Mark 
didn't read it out at breakfast" 

"You gathered, however, that it was an unwelcome 

"Oh, yes!" 

"Would you say that Mark was frightened by it !" 

"Not frightened. Sort of bitter — and resigned. 
Sort of 'Oh, Lord, here we are again !' " 

There was a titter here and there. The Coroner 
smiled, and tried to pretend that he hadn't. 

"Thank you, Mr. Beverley." 

The next witness was summoned by the name of 
Andrew Amos, and Antony looked up with interest, 
wondering who it was. 

"He lives at the inner lodge," whispered Bill to 

All that Amos had to say was that a stranger bad 
passed by his lodge at a little before three that after- 
noon, and had spoken to him. He had seen the 
body and recognized it aa the man. 

"What did he say!" 

" 'Is this right for the Bed House V ox something 
like that, sir." 

"What did you say!" 


"I said, 'This is the Red House. Who do you 
want to see ?' He was a bit rough-looking, you know, 
sir, and I didn't know what he was doing there." 


"Well, sir, he said, Is Mister Mark Ablett at 
home?' It doesn't sound much put like that, sir, 
but I didn't care about the way he said it So I 
got in front of him like, and said, 'What do you 
want, eh?' and he gave a sort of chuckle and said, 
1 want to see my dear brother Mark' Well, then 
I took a closer look at him, and I see that p'raps he 
might be his brother, so I said, 'If you'll follow the 
drive, sir, you'll come to the house. Of course I 
can't say if Mr. Ablett's at home.' And he gave a 
sort of nasty laugh again, and said, 'Fine place 
Mister Mark Ablett's got here. Plenty of money to 
spend, eh?' Well, then I had another look at him, 
sir, because gentlemen don't talk like that, and if he 
was Mr. Ablett's brother — but before I could make 
up my mind, he laughed and went on. That's all I 
can tell you, sir." 

Andrew Amos stepped down and moved away to 
the back of the room, nor did Antony take his eyes 
off him until he was assured that Amos intended to 
remain there until the inquest was over. 

"Who's Amos talking to now?" he whispered to 

"Parsons. One of the gardeners. He's at the 
outside lodge on the Stanton road. They're all here 
to-day. Sort of holiday for 'em," 


"I wonder if he's giving evidence too," thought 

He was. He followed Amos. He had been at 
work on the lawn in front of the house, and had seen 
Robert Ablett arrive. He didn't hear the shot — not 
to notice. He was a little hard of hearing. He had 
Been a gentleman arrive about five minutes after Mr. 

"Can you see him in court now?" asked the 

Parsons looked round slowly. Antony caught his 
eye and smiled. 

"That's him," said Parsons, pointing. 

Everybody looked at Antony. 

"That was about five minutes afterwards!" 

"About that, sir." 

"Did anybody come out of the house before this 
gentleman's arrival?" 

"No, sir. That is to say, I didn't see 'em." 

Stevens followed. She gave her evidence much 
as she had given it to the inspector. Nothing new 
was brought out by her examination. Then came 
Elsie. As the reporters scribbled down what she had 
overheard, they added in brackets "Sensation" for 
the first time that afternoon. 

"How soon after you had heard this did the shot 
come?" asked the Coroner. 

"Almost at once, sir." 

"A minute?" 

"I couldn't really say, sir. It was so quick." 


"Were yon still in the hall!" 

''Oh, no, sir. I was just outside Mrs. Stevens' 
room. The housekeeper, sir." 

"Yon didn't think of going back to the hall to see 
what had happened V 

"Oh, no, sir. I just went in to Mrs. Stevens, and 
she said, 'Oh, what was that V frightened-like. And 
I said, 'That was in the house, Mrs. Stevens, that 
was.' Just like something going off, it was." 

"Thank you," said the Coroner. 

There was another emotional disturbance in the 
room as Cayley went into the witness-box ; not "Sen- 
sation" this time, but an eager and, as it seemed to 
Antony, sympathetic interest. Now they were get- 
ting to grips with the drama. 

He gave his evidence carefully, unemotionally — 
the lies with the same slow deliberation as the truth. 
Antony watched him intently, wondering what it was 
about him which had this odd sort of attractiveness. 
For Antony, who knew that he was lying, and lying 
(as he believed) not for Mark's sake but his own, 
yet could not help sharing some of that general sym- 
pathy with him. 

"Was Mark ever in possession of a revolver?" 
asked the coroner. 

"Not to my knowledge. I think I should have 
known if he had been." 

"You were alone with him all that morning. Did 
he talk about this visit of Robert's at all ?" 

"I didn't see very much of him in the morning. 


I was at work in my room, and outside, and so on. 
We lunched together and he talked of it then a 

"In what terms?" 

"Well " he hesitated, and then went on, "I 

can't think of a hetter word than 'peevishly.' Occa- 
sionally he said, 'What do you think he wants?' or 
'Why couldn't he have stayed where he was?' or 'I 
don't like the tone of his letter. Do you think he 
means trouhle?' He talked rather in that kind of 

"Did he express his surprise that his brother 
should be in England ?" 

"I think he was always afraid that he would turn 
up one day." 

"Yes. . . . You didn't hear any conversation be- 
tween the brothers when they were in the office 

"No. I happened to go into the library just after 
Mark had gone in, and I was there all the time." 

"Was the library door open?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"Did you see or hear the last witness at all ?" 


"If anybody had come out of the office while you 
were in the library, would you have heard it?" 

"I think so. Unless they had come out very 
quietly on purpose." 

"Yes. . . . Would you call Mark a hasty-tem- 
pered man?" 


Cayley considered this carefully before answer- 

"Hasty-tempered, yes," he said. "Brit not violent- 

"Was he fairly athletic? Active and quick?" 

"Active and quick, yes. Not particularly strong." 

"Yes. . . . One question more. Was Mark in 
the habit of carrying any considerable sum of money 
about with him?" 

"Yes. He always had one £100 note on him, and 
perhaps ten or twenty pounds as welL" 

"Thank you, Mr. Cayley." 

Cayley went back heavily to his seat "Damn it," 
■aid Antony to himself, "why do I like the fellow ?" 

"Antony Q-illingham !" 

Again the eager interest of the room could be felt. 
Who was this stranger who had got mixed up in the 
business so mysteriously? 

Antony smiled at Bill and stepped up to give his 

He explained how he came to be staying at the 
"George" at Woodham, how he had heard that the 
Red House was in the neighbourhood, how he had 
walked over to see his friend Beverley, and had ar- 
rived just after the tragedy. Thinking it over after- 
wards he was fairly certain that he had heard the 
shot, but it had not made any impression on him at 
the time. He had come to the house from the Wood- 
ham end and consequently had seen nothing of Bob- 
ert Ablett, who had been a few minutes in front of 


him. From this point his evidence coincided with 

"You and the last witness reached the Fiench 
windows together and found them shut!" 


"You pushed them in and came to the body. Of 
course you had no idea whose body it was!" 


"Did Mr. Cayley say anything?" 

"He turned the body over, just so as to see the 
face, and when he saw it, he said, 'Thank God. - * " 

Again the reporters wrote "Sensation." 

"Did you understand what he meant by that ?" 

"I asked him who it was, and he said that it was 
Robert Ablett Then he explained that he was 
afraid at first it was the cousin with whom he lived 
— Mark." 

"Yes. Did he seem upset V 

"Very much so at first. Less when he found that 
it wasn't Mark." 

There was a sudden snigger from a nervous gentle- 
man in the crowd at the back of the room, and the 
Coroner put on his glasses and stared sternly in the 
direction from which it came. The nervous gentle- 
man hastily decided that the time had come to do 
up his bootlace. The Coroner put down his glasses 
and continued. 

"Did anybody come out of the house while yon 
wexe coming up the drivel" 



"Thank you, Mr. Gfflingham." 

He was followed by Inspector Birch. Tht In- 
spector, realizing that this was his afternoon, and 
that the eyes of the world were upon him, produced 
a plan of the house and explained the situation of 
the different rooms. The plan was then handed to 
the jury. 

Inspector Birch, so he told the world, had arrived 
at the Bed House at 4.42 p.m. on the afternoon in 
question. He had been received by Mr. Matthew 
Cayley, who had made a short statement to him, and 
he had then proceeded to examine the scene of the 
crime. The French windows had been forced from 
outside. The door leading into the hall was locked ; 
he had searched the room thoroughly and had found 
no trace of a key. In the bedroom leading out of 
the office he had found an open window. There 
were no marks on the window, but it was a low ODe, 
and, as he found from experiment, quite easy to step 
out of without touching it with the boots. A few 
yards outside the window a shrubbery began. There 
were no recent footmarks outside the window, but 
the ground was in a very hard condition owing to 
the absence of rain. In the shrubbery, however, he 
found several twigs on the ground, recently broken 
off, together with other evidence that some body had 
been forcing its way through. He had questioned 
everybody connected with the estate, and none of 
them had been into the shrubbery recently. By 
forcing a waj through the shrubbery it was possible 


for a person to make a detour of the house and get 
to the Stanton end of the park without ever being in 
sight of the house itself. 

He had made inquiries about the deceased. De- 
ceased had left for Australia some fifteen years ago, 
owing to some financial trouble at home. Deceased 
was not well spoken of in the village from which 
he and his brother had come. Deceased and his 
brother had never been on good terms, and the fact 
that Mark Ablett had come into money had been a 
cause of great bitterness between them. It was 
shortly after this that Robert had left for Australia. 

He had made inquiries at Stanton station. It had 
been market-day at Stanton and the station had bten 
more full of arrivals than usual. Nobody had par- 
ticularly noticed the arrival of Robert Ablett ; there 
had been a good many passengers by the 2.10 train 
that afternoon, the train by which Robert had un- 
doubtedly come from London. A witness, however, 
would state that he noticed a man resembling Mark 
Ablett at the station at 3.53 p.m. that afternoon 
and that this man caught the 3.55 up train to town. 

There was a pond in the grounds of the Red House 
He had dragged this, but without result. . . . 

Antony listened to him carelessly, thinking his 
own thoughts all the time. Medical evidence fol- 
lowed, but there was nothing to be got from that. 
He felt so close to the truth; at any moment some- 
thing might give his brain the one little hint which 
it wanted. Inspector Birch was just pursuing the 


ordinary. Whatever else this case was, it was not 
ordinary. There was something uncanny about it. 

John Borden was giving evidence. He was on 
the up platform seeing a friend off by the 3.55 on 
Tuesday afternoon. He had noticed a man on the 
platform with coatrcollar turned up and a scarf 
round his chin. He had wondered why the man 
should do this on such a hot day. The man seemed 
to be trying to escape observation. Directly the train 
came in, he hurried into a carriage. And so on. 

"There's always a John Borden at every murder 
case," said Antony to himself. 

"Have you ever seen Mark Ablett?" 

"Once or twice, sir." 

"Was it he?" 

"I never really got a good look at him, sir, what 
with his collar turned up and the scarf and alL But 
directly I heard of the sad affair, and that Mr. Ablett 
was missing, I said to Mrs. Borden, 'Now I wonder 
if that was Mr. Ablett I saw at the station 1' So 
then we talked it over and decided that I ought to 
come and tell Inspector Birch. It was just Mr. 
Ablett's height, sir." 

Antony went on with his thoughts. . . . 

The coroner was summing up. The jury, he said, 
had now heard all the evidence and would hava to 
decide what had happened in that room between the 
two brothers. How had the deceased met his death 1 
The medical evidence would probably satisfy them 


that Robert Ablett had died from the effects of a 
bullet-wound in the head. Who had fired that 
bullet? If Robert Ablett had fired it himself, no 
doubt they would bring in a verdict cf suicide, but 
if this had been so, where was the revolver which 
had fired it, and what had become of Mark Ablett! 
If they disbelieved in this possibility of suicide, 
what remained ? Accidental death, justifiable homi- 
cide, and murder. Could the deceased have been 
killed accidentally ? It was possible, but then would 
Mark Ablett have run away ? The evidence that he 
had run away from the scene of the crime was strongs 
His cousin had seen him go into the room, the serv- 
ant Elsie Wood had heard him quarrelling with his 
brother in the room, the door had been locked from 
the inside, and there were signs that outside the open 
window some one had pushed his way very recently 
through the shrubbery. Who, if not Mark? They 
would have then to consider whether he would have 
run away if he had been guiltless of his brother's 
death. No doubt innocent people lost their heads 
sometimes. It was possible that if it were proved 
afterwards that Mark Ablett had shot his brother, 
it might also be proved that he was justified in so 
doing, and that when he ran away from his brother's 
corpse he had really nothing to fear at the hands of 
the Law. In this connexion he need hardly remind 
the jury that they were not the final tribunal, and 
that if they found Mark Ablett guilty of murder, it 


would not prejudice his trial in any way, if and 
when he was apprehended. . . . The jury could con- 
sider their verdict. 

They considered it They announced that the de- 
ceased had died as the result of a bullet-wound, and 
that the bullet had been fired by his brother Mark 

Bill turned round to Antony at his side. But An- 
tony was gone. Across the room he saw Andrew 
Amos and Parsons going out of the door together, 
and Antony was between them. 



THE inquest had been held at the "Lamb" at 
Stanton; at Stanton Robert Ablett was to be 
buried next day. Bill waited about outaide for his 
friend, 'wondering where he had gone. Then, realiz- 
ing that Cayley would be coming out to his car di- 
rectly, and that a farewell talk with Cayley would 
be a little embarrassing, he wandered round to the 
yard at the back of the inn, lit a cigarette, and stood 
surveying a torn and weather-beaten poster on the 
it announced, to take place on "Wednesday, Decern." 
Bill smiled to himself as he looked at it, for the 
part of Joe, a loquacious postman, had been played 
by "William B. Beverl," as the remnants of the 
poster still maintained, and he had been much less 
loquacious than the author had intended, having for- 
gotten his words completely, but it had all been great 
fun. And then he stopped smiling, for there would 
be no more fun now at the Red House. 

"Sorry to keep you waiting," said the voice of 


Antony, behind him. "My old friends Amos and 
Parsons insisted on giving me a drink." 

He slipped his hand into the crook of Bill's aim, 
and smiled happily at him. 

"Why were you so keen about them?" asked Bill 
a little resentfully. "I couldn't think where on 
earth you had got to." 

Antony didn't say anything. He was staring at 
the poster. 

"When did this happen?" he asked. 


Antony waved to the poster. 

"Oh, that? Last Christmas. It was rather 

Antony began to laugh to himself. 

''Were you good ?" 

"Rotten. I don't profess to be an actor." 

"Mark good?" 

"Oh, rather. He loves it" 

"Rev. Henry Stutters — Mr. Matthew Cay," read 
Antony. "Was that our friend Cayley?" 


"Any good?" 

"Well, much better than I expected. He wasn't 
keen, but Mark made him." 

"Miss Norris wasn't playing, I see. 

"My dear Tony, she's a professional. Of course 
she wasn't." 

Antony laughed again. 

"A great success, was it?" 


"0, rather!" 

"I'm a fool, and a damned fool,** Antony an- 
nounced solemnly. "And a damned fool," he said 
again under his breath, as he led Bill away from 
the poster, and ont of the yard into the road. "And 

a damned fool. Even now " He broke off and 

then asked suddenly, "Did Mark ever have much 
trouble with his teeth?" 

"He went to his dentist a good deaL But what 
on earth " 

Antony laughed a third time. 

"What luck!" he chuckled. "But how do you 

"We go to the same man; Mark recommended 
him to me. Cartwright, in Wimpole Street" 

"Cartwright in Wimpole Street," repeated An- 
tony thoughtfully. "Yes, I can remember that 
Cartwright in Wimpole Street Did Cayley go to 
him too, by any chance?" 

"I expect so. Oh, yes, I know he did. But what 
on earth — — " 

"What was Mark's general health like? Did he 
see a doctor much?" 

"Hardly at all, I should think. He did a lot of 
early morning exercises which were supposed to 
make him bright and cheerful at breakfast They 
didn't do that, but they seemed to keep him pretty 
fit Tony, I wish you'd " 

Antony held up a hand and hushed him into sil- 


"One last question," he said. "Was Mark fomd 
of swimmiag?" 

"No, he hated it I don't believe he could swim. 
Tony, are yon mad, or am If Or is this a new 

Antony squeezed his arm. 

"Dear old Bill," he said. "It's a game. What a 
gamel And the answer is Cartwright in Wimpole 

They walked in silence for half a mile or so along 
the road to Woodham. Bill tried two or three times 
to get his friend to talk, but Antony had only 
grunted in reply. He was just going to make an- 
other attempt, when Antony came to a sudden etop 
and turned to him anxiously. 

"I wonder if you'd do something for me, Bill," 
he said, looking at him with some doubt 

"What sort of thing?" 

"Well, it's really dashed important It's just the 
one thing I want now." 

Bill was suddenly enthusiastic again. 

"I say, have you really found it all out?" 

Antony nodded. 

"At least, I'm very nearly there. There's just this 
one thing I want now. It means your going back 
to Stanton. Well, we haven't come far; it won't take 
you long. Do you mind?" 

"My dear Holmes, I am at your service." 

Antony gave him a smile and was silent for a 
little thinking. 


"Is there another inn at Stanton — fairly close to 
the station ?" 

"The 'Plough and Horses' — just at the corner 
where the road goes up to the station — is that the 
one you mean?" 

"That would be the one. I suppose you could 
do with a drink, couldn't you?" 

"Bather!" said Bill with a griu. 

"Good. Then have one at the *Plough and 
Horses.' Have two, if you like, and talk to the 
landlord, or landlady, or whoever serves you. I want 
you to find out if anybody stayed there on Monday 

"Eobert?" said Bill eagerly. 

"I didn't say Robert," said Antony, smiling. "I 
just want you to find out if they had a visitor who 
slept there on Monday night. A stranger. If so, 
then any particulars you can get of him, without 
letting the landlord know that you are interested — " 

"Leave it to me," broke in Bill. "I know just 
what you want." 

"Don't assume that it was Robert — or anybody 
else. Let them describe the man to you. Don't in- 
fluence them unconsciously by suggesting that he was 
short or tall, or anything of that sort. Just get them 
talking. If it's the landlord, you'd better stand him 
a drink or two." 

"Eight you are," said Bill confidently. "Where 
do I meet you again ?" 

"Probably at the 'George.' If you get there be- 


fore me, you can order dinner for eight o'clock. 
Anyhow we'll meet at eight, if not before." 

"Good." He nodded to Antony and strode off back 
to Stanton again. 

Antony stood watching him with a little smile at 
his enthusiasm. Then he looked round slowly, an if 
in search of something. Suddenly he saw what he 
wanted. Twenty yards farther on a lane wandered 
off to the left, and there was a gate a little way up 
on the right-hand side of it. Antony walked to the 
gate filling his pipe as he went. Then he lit his pipe, 
sat on the gate, and took his head in his hands. 

"Now then," he said to himself, "let's begin at the 

It was nearly eight o'clock when William Bever- 
ley, the famous sleuth-hound, arrived, tired and 
dusty, at the "George," to find Antony, cool and 
clean, standing bare-headed at the door, waiting for 

"Is dinner ready?" were Bill's first words. 


"Then I'll just have a wash. Lord, I'm tired." 

"I never ought to have asked you," said Antony 

"That's all right. I shan't be a moment" Half- 
way up the stairs he turned round and asked, "Am 
I in your room?" 


"Yes. Da you know the way?" 

"Yes. Start carving, will you? And order lots 
of beer." He disappeared round the top of the stair- 
case. Antony went slowly in. 

When the first edge of his appetite had worn off, 
and he was able to spare a little time between the 
mouthfuls, Bill gave an account of his adventures. 
The landlord of the "Plough and Horses" had been 
sticky, decidedly sticky — Bill had been unable at 
first to get anything out of him. But Bill had been 
tactful; lorblessyou, how tactful he had been, 

"He kept on about the inquest, and what a queer 
affair it had been, and so on, and how there'd been 
an inquest in his wife's family once, which he seemed 
rather proud about, and I kept saying, Tretty busy, 
I suppose, just now, what?' and then he'd say, 
*Middlin',' and go on again about Susan, — that was 
the one that had the inquest — he talked about it as 
if it were a disease — and then I'd try again, and say, 
'Slack times, I expect, just now, eh?' and he'd say 
*Middlin' ' again, and then it was time to offer him 
another drink, and I didn't seem to be getting much 
nearer. But I got him at last. I asked him if he 
knew John Borden — he was the man who said he'd 
seen Mark at the station. "Well, he knew all about 
Borden, and after he'd told me all about Borden's 
wife's family, and how one of them had been burnt 
to death — after you with the beer; thanks — well, 
then I said carelessly that it must be very hard to 
remember anybody whom you had just seen once. 


bo as to identify him afterwards, and he agreed that 
it would be 'middlin' hard,' and then " 

"Give me three guesses," interrupted Antony. 
"You asked him if he rememberd everybody who 
came to his inn ?" 

"That's it. Bright, wasn't it?" 

"Brilliant And what was the result?" 

"The result was a woman." 

"A woman ?" said Antony eagerly. 

"A woman," said Bill impressively. "Of course 
I thought it was going to be Robert — so did you, 
didn't you ? — but it wasn't It was a woman. Came 
quite late on Monday night in a car — driving her- 
Belf — went off early next morning." 

"Did he describe her?" 

"Yes. She was middlin'. Middlin' tall, middlin' 
age, middlin' colour, and so on. Doesn't help much, 
does it ? But still — a woman. Does that upset your 

Antony shook his head. 

"No, Bill, not at all," he said. 

"You knew all the time ? At least, you guessed ?" 

"Wait till to-morrow. I'll tell you everything to- 

"To-morrow!" said Bill in great disappointment 

"Well, I'll tell you one thing to-night, if you'll 
promise not to ask any more questions. But you 
probably know it already." 

"What is it?" 

"Only that Mark Ablett did not kill his brother." 


"And Cayley did?" 

"That's another question, Bill. However, the an- 
swer is that Cayley didn't, either." 

"Then who on earth " 

"Have some more beer," said Antony with a 
smile. And Bill had to he content with that. 

They were early to bed that evening, for both of 
them were tired. Bill slept loudly and defiantly, but 
Antony lay awake, wondering. What was happen- 
ing at the Bed House now ? Perhaps he would hear 
in the morning; perhaps he would get a letter. He 
went over the whole story again from the beginning 
— was there any possibility of a mistake? What 
would the police do? Would they ever find out? 
Ought he to have told them? Well, let them find 
out ; it was their job. Surely he couldn't have made 
a mistake this time. "No good wondering now; he 
would know definitely in the morning. 

In the morning there warn a latter for him. 



"I gather from your letter that you hare 
made certain discoveries which you may feel it your 
duty to communicate to the police, and that in this 
case my arrest on a charge of murder would in- 
evitably follow. Why, in these circumstances, you 
should give me such ample warning of your inten- 
tions I do not understand, unless it is that you are 
not wholly out of sympathy with me. But whether 
or not you sympathize, at any rate you will want to 
know — and I want you to know — exactly what hap- 
pened in the office on that afternoon, and the reasons 
which made this killing necessary. If the police 
have to be told anything, I would rather that they 
too knew the whole story. They, and even you, may 
call it murder, but by that time I shall be out of 
the way. Let them call it what they like. 

"I must begin by taking you back to a summer 
day fifteen years ago, when I was a boy of thirteen 
and Mark a young man of twenty-five. His whole 
life was make-believe, and just now he was pretend- 



ing to be a philanthropist He sat in our little draw- 
ing-room, flicking his gloves against the back of his 
left hand, and my mother, good soul, thought what 
a noble young gentleman he was, and Philip and I, 
hastily washed and crammed into collars, stood in 
front of him, nudging each other and kicking the 
backs of our heels and cursing him in our hearts for 
having interrupted our game. He had decided to 
adopt one of us, kind Cousin Mark. Heaven knows 
why he chose me. Philip was eleven; two years 
longer to wait. Perhaps that was why. 

"Well, Mark educated me. I went to a publie 
school and to Cambridge, and I became his secretary. 
Well, much more than his secretary, as your friend 
Beverley perhaps has told you: his land agent, hia 
financial adviser, his courier, his — but this most of 
all — his audience. Mark could never live alone. 
There must always be somebody to listen to him. I 
think in his heart he hoped I should be his Boswell. 
He told me one day that he had made me his literary 
executor — poor devil. And he used to write me the 
absurdest long letters when I was away from him, 
letters which I read once and then tore up. The 
futility of the man! 

"It was three years ago that Philip got into 
trouble. He had been hurried through a cheap 
grammar school and into a London office, and dis- 
covered there that there was not much fun to be got 
in this world on two pounds a week. I had a frantic 
letter from him one day, saying that he must have 


a hundred at once, or he would be ruined, and I went 
to Mark for the money. Only to borrow it, yon un- 
derstand • he gave me a good salary and I could have 
paid it back in three months. But no. He saw 
nothing for himself in it, I suppose; no applause, no 
admiration. Philip's gratitude would be to me, not 
to him. I begged, I threatened, we argued; and 
while we were arguing, Philip was arrested. It 
killed my mother 1 — he was always her favourite — 
but Mark, as usual, got his satisfaction out of it 
He preened himself on his judgment of character 
in having chosen me and not Philip twelve years 
before ! 

"Later on I apologized to Mark for the reckless 
things I had said to him, and he played the part of 
a magnanimous gentleman with his accustomed skill, 
but, though outwardly we were as before to each 
other, from that day forward, though his vanity 
would never let him see it, I was his bitterest enemy. 
If that had been all, I wonder if I should have killed 
him ? To live on terms of intimate friendship with 
a man whom you hate is dangerous work for your 
friend. Because of his belief in me as his admiring 
and grateful prot%6, and his belief in himself aa 
my benefactor, he was now utterly in my power. I 
could take my time and choose my opportunity. 
Perhaps I should not have killed him, but I had 
sworn to have my revenge — and there he was, poor 
vain fool, at my mercy. I was in no hurry. 


"Two years later I had to reconsider my position, 
for my revenge was being taken out of my hands. 
Mark began to drink. Could I have stopped him? 
I don't think so, but to my immense surprise I found 
myself trying to. Instinct, perhaps, getting the 
better of reason; or did I reason it out and tell my- 
self that, if he drank himself to death, I should lose 
my revenge ? Upon my word, I cannot tell you ; but, 
for whatever motive, I did genuinely want to stop it. 
Drinking is such a beastly thing, anyhow. 

"I could not stop him, but I kept him within cer- 
tain bounds, so that nobody but myself knew his 
secret. Yes, I kept him outwardly decent ; and per- 
haps now I was becoming like the cannibal who keeps 
his victim in good condition for his own ends. I 
used to gloat over Mark, thinking how utterly he was 
mine to ruin as I pleased, financially, morally, what- 
ever way would give me most satisfaction. I had 
but to take my hand away from him and he sank. 
But again I was in no hurry. 

"Then he killed himself. That futile little drunk- 
ard, eaten up with his own selfishness and vanity, 
offered his beastliness to the truest and purest wo- 
man on this earth. You have seen her, Mr. Gilling- 
ham, but you never knew Mark Ablett Even if he 
had not been a drunkard, there was no chance for 
her of happiness with him. I had known him for 
many years, but never once had I seen him moved 
by any generous emotion. To have lived with that 
shrivelled little soul would have been hell for her; 


and a thousand times worse hell when he began to 

"So he had to be killed. I was the only one left 
to protect her, for her mother was in league with 
Mark to bring about her ruin. I would have shot 
him openly for her sake, and with what gladness, 
but I had no mind to sacrifice myself needlessly. He 
was in my power; I could persuade him to almost 
anything by flattery ; surely it would not be difficult 
to give his death the appearance of an accident. 

"I need not take up your time by telling you of 
the many plans I made and rejected. For some days 
I inclined towards an unfortunate boating accident 
in the pond — Mark a very indifferent swimmer, my- 
self almost exhausted in a gallant attempt to hold 
him up. And then he himself gave me the idea, he 
and Miss Norris between them, and so put himself 
in my hands; without risk of discovery, I should 
have said, had you not discovered me. 

"We were talking about ghosts. Mark had been 
even more vain, pompous and absurd than usual, and 
I could see that Miss Norris was irritated by it. 
After dinner she suggested dressing up as a ghost 
and frightening him. I thought it my duty to warn 
her that Mark took any joke against himself badly, 
but she was determined to do it. I gave way with 
apparent reluctance. Reluctantly, also, I told her 
the secret of the passage. (There is an underground 
passage from the library to the bowling-green. You 
should exercise your ingenuity, Mr. Gillingham, in 


trying to discover it. Mark came upon it by accident 
a year ago. It was a godsend to him ; he could drink 
there in greater Becrecy. But he had to tell me about 
it. He wanted an audience, even for his vices.) 

"1 told Miss Norris, then, because it was necessary 
for my plan that Mark should be thoroughly fright- 
ened. Without the passage she could never have got 
close enough to the bowling-green to alarm him prop- 
erly, but as I arranged it with her she made the most 
effective appearance, and Mark was in just the state 
of rage and vindictiveness which I required. Miss 
Norris, you understand, is a professional actress. I 
need not say that to her I appeared to be animated 
by no other feeling than a boyish desire to bring off 
a good joke — a joke directed as much against the 
others as against Mark. 

"He came to me that night, as I expected, still 
quivering with indignation. Miss Norris must never 
be asked to the house again ; I was to make a special 
note of it ; never again. It was outrageous. Had he 
not a reputation as a host to keep up, he would pack 
her off next morning. As it was, she could stay; 
hospitality demanded it; but never again would she 
come to the Ked House — he was absolutely deter- 
mined about that. I was to make a special note 
of it. 

"I comforted him, I smoothed down his ruffled 
feathers. She had behaved very badly, but he was 
quite right; he must try noi to show how much be 
disapproved of her. And of course she would never 


eome again — that was obvious. And then suddenly 
I began to laugh. He looked up at me indignantly. 

" 'Is there a joke V he said coldly. 

"I laughed gently again. 

" 'I was just thinking,' I said, 'thut it would be 
rather amusing if you — well, had your revenge.' 

" 'My revenge ? How do you mean ?' 

" 'Well, paid her back in her own coin.' 

" Do you mean try and frighten her V 

" 'No, no ; but dressed up and pulled her leg a bit. 
Made her look a fool in front of the others.' I 
laughed to myself again. 'Serve her jolly well right.' 

"He jumped up excitedly. 

" 'By Jove, Cay!' he cried. 'If I could! How? 
You must think of a way.' 

"I don't know if Beverley has told you about 
Mark's acting. He was an amateur of all the arts, 
and vain of his little talents, but as an actor he 
seemed to himself most wonderful. Certainly he 
had some ability for the stage, so long as he had the 
stage to himself and was playing to an admiring audi- 
ence. As a professional actor in a small part he would 
have been hopeless; as an amateur playing the lead- 
ing part, he deserved all that the local papers had 
ever said about him. And so the idea of giving us 
a private performance, directed against a professional 
actress who had made fun of him, appealed equally 
to his vanity and his, desire for retaliation. If he, 
Mark Ablett, by his wonderful acting could make 
Ruth Norris look a fool in front of the others, could 


take her in, and then join in the laugh at her after- 
wards, he would indeed have had a worthy revenge I 

"(It strikes you as childish, Mr. Gillingham? Ah, 
you never knew Mark Ablett) 

" TIow, Cay, how ?' he said eagerly. 

" 'Well, I haven't really thought it out,' I pro- 
tested. 'It was just an idea.' 

"He began to think it out for himself. 

" 'I might pretend to be a manager, come down to 
see heir — but I suppose she knows them all. What 
about an interviewer?' 

" 'It's going to be difficult,' I said thoughtfully. 
'You've got rather a characteristic face, you know. 
And your beard ' 

" 'I'd shave it off,' he snapped. 

'"My dear Mark!' 

"He looked away, and mumbled, 'I've been think- 
ing of taking it off, anyhow. And besides, if I'm 
going to do the thing, I'm going to do it properly.' 

" 'Yes, you always were an artist,' I said looking 
at him admiringly. 

"He purred. To be called an artist was what he 
longed for most. Now I knew that I had him. 

" 'All the same,' I went on, 'even without your 
beard and moustache you might be recognizable. 
Unless, of course ' I broke off. 

'"Unless what?' 

" 'You pretend to be Eobert.' I began to laugh 
to myself again. 'By Jove !' I said, 'that's not a bad 
idea. Pretend to be Eobert, the wastrel brother, 


and make yourself objectionable to Miss ITorris. 
Borrow money from ber, and that sort of thing.' 

"He looked at me, with, bis bright little eyes, 
nodding eagerly. 

" 'Eobert,' he said- 'Yes. How shall we work 

"There was really a Eobert, Mr. Gillingham, as 
I have no doubt you and the inspector both dis- 
covered. And he was a wastrel and he went to 
Australia. But he never came to the Bed House 
on Tuesday afternoon. He couldn't have, because 
he died (unlamented) three years ago. But there 
was nobody who knew this, save Mark and myself, 
for Mark was the only one of the family left, and 
Eobert had never been talked about. 

"For the next two days Mark and I worked out 
our plans. You understand by now that our aims 
were not identical. Mark's endeavour was that his 
deception should last for, say, a couple of hours; 
mine that it should go to the grave with him. He 
had only to deceive Miss Norris and the other guests ; 
I had to deceive the world. When he was dressed 
up as Bobertj I was going to kill him. Eobert would 
then be dead, Mark (of course) missing. What 
could anybody think but that Mark had killed Rob- 
ert? But you see hyw important it was for Mark 
to enter fully into his latest (and last) impersona- 
tion. Half-measures would be fatal. 

"You will say that it was impossible to do the 
thing thoroughly enough. I answer again that you 


never knew Mark. He was being what lie wished 
most to be — an artist. No Othello ever blacked him- 
self all over with such enthusiasm as did Mark. His 
beard was going anyhow — possibly a chance remark 
of Miss Norbury's helped here. She did not like 
beards. But it was important for me that the dead 
man's hands should not be the hands of a manicured 
gentleman. Five minutes playing upon the vanity 
of the artist settled his hands. He let the nails grow 
and then cut them raggedly. 'Miss Norris would 
notice your hands at once,' I had said. 'Besides, as 
an artist ' 

"So with his underclothes. It was hardly neces- 
sary to warn him that his pants might show above 
the edge of his socks; an an artist he had already 
decided upon Robertian pants. I bought them, and 
other things, in London for him. Even if I had 
not cut out all trace of the maker's name, he would 
instinctively have done it. As an Australian and an 
artist, he could not have an East London address on 
his underclothes. Yes, we were doing the thing 
thoroughly, both of us; he as an artist, I as a ; — 
well, you may say murderer, if you like. I shall 
not mind now. 

"Our plans were settled- I went to London on 
the Monday and wrote him a letter from Robert. 
(The artistic touch again.) I also bought a revolver. 
On the Tuesday morning he announced the arrival 
of Robert at the breakfast-table. Robert was now 
alive — we had six witnesses to prove it ; six witnesses 


who knew that he was coming that afternoon. Our 
private plan was that Robert should present him- 
self at three o'clock, in readiness for the return of 
the golfing-party shortly afterwards. The maid 
would go to look for Mark, and having failed to 
find him, come bzck to the office to find me entertain- 
ing Robert in Mark's absence. I would explain that 
Mark must have gone out somewhere, and would 
introduce the wastrel brother to the tea-table. Mark's 
absence would not excite any comment, for it would 
be generally felt — indeed Robert would suggest it — 
that he had been afraid of meeting his brother. Then 
Robert would make himself amusingly offensive to 
the guests, particularly, of course, Miss Norris, until 
he thought that the joke had gone far enough. 

"That was our private plan. Perhaps I should 
say that it was Mark's private plan. My own was 

"The announcement at breakfast went well. After 
the golfing-party had gone off, we had the morning 
in which to complete our arrangements. What I 
was chiefly concerned about was to establish as com- 
pletely as possible the identity of Robert. For this 
reason I suggested to Mark that, when dressed, he 
should go out by the secret passage to the bowling- 
green, and come back by the drive, taking care to 
enter into conversation with the lodge-keeper. In 
this way I would have two more witnesses of Rob- 
ert's arrival — first the lodge-keeper, and secondly 
one of the gardeners whom I would have working on 


the front lawn. Mark, of course, was willing enough. 
He could practise his Australian accent on the lodge- 
keeper. It was really amusing to see how readily he 
fell into every suggestion which I made. Never was 
a killing more carefully planned by its victim. 

"He changed into Robert's clothes in the office bed- 
room. This was the safest way — for both of us. 
When he was ready, he called me in, and I inspected 
him. It was extraordinary how well he looked the 
part I suppose that the signs of his dissipation had 
already marked themselves on his face, but had been 
concealed hitherto by his moustache and beard; for 
now that he was clean-shaven they lay open to the 
world from which we had so carefully hidden them, 
and he was indeed the wastrel which he was pretend- 
ing to be. 

" TJy Jove, you're wonderful,' I said. 

"He smirked, and called my attention to the vari- 
ous artistic touches which I might have missed. 

" 'Wonderful,' I said to myself again. 'Nobody 
could possibly guess.' 

"I peered into the halL It was empty. He hur- 
ried across to the library; he got into the passage 
and made off. I went back to the bedroom, collected 
all his discarded clothes, did them up in a bundle and 
returned with them to the passage. Then I sat down 
in the hall and waited. 

"Tou heard the evidence of Stevens, the maid 
As soon as she was on her way to the Temple in 


search of Mark, I stepped into the office. My hand 
was in my side-pocket, and in my hand was the re- 

"He began at once in his character of Robert — 
some rigmarole about working his passage over from 
Australia; a little private performance for my edi- 
fication. Then in his natural voice, gloating over his 
well-planned retaliation on Miss Norris, he burst out, 
'It's my turn now. You wait.' It was this which 
Elsie heard. She had no business to be there and 
she might have ruined everything, but as it turned 
out it was the luckiest thing which could have hap- 
pened. For it was the one piece of evidence which I 
wanted ; evidence, other than my own, that Mark and 
Robert were in the room together. 

"I said nothing. I was not going to take the risk 
of being heard to speak in that room. I just smiled 
at the poor little fool, and took out my revolver, and 
shot him. Then I went back into the library and 
waited — just as I said in my evidence. 

"Can you imagine, Mr. Gillingham, the shock 
which your sudden appearance gave me? Can you 
imagine the feelings of a 'murderer' who has (as he 
thinks) planned for every possibility, and is then 
confronted suddenly with an utterly new problem! 
What difference would your coming make ? I didn't 
know. Perhaps none; perhaps all. And I had for- 
gotten to open the window! 

"I don't know whether you will think my plan 
for killing Mark a clever one. Perhaps not. But 


if I do deserve any praise in the matter, I think I 
deserve it for the way I pulled myself together in 
the face of the unexpected catastrophe of your ar- 
rival. Yes, I got a window open, Mr. Gillingham, 
under your very nose; the right window too, you 
were kind enough to say. And the keys — yes, that 
was clever of you, but I think I was cleverer. I de- 
ceived you over the keys, Mr. Gillingham, as I learnt 
when I took the liberty of listening to a conversation 
on the bowling-green between you and your friend 
Beverley? Where was I? Ah, you must have a 
look for that secret passage, Mr. Gillingham. 

"But what was I saying? Did I deceive you at 
all? You have found out the secret — that Robert 
was Mark — and that is all that matters. How have 
you found out? I shall never know now. Where 
did I go wrong? Perhaps you have been deceiving 
me all the time. Perhaps you knew about the keys, 
about the window, even about the secret passage. 
You are a clever man, Mr. Gillingham. 

"I had Mark's clothes on my hands. I might have 
left them in the passage, but the secret of the pas- 
sage waa now out. Miss Norris knew it. That was 
the weak point of my plan, perhaps, that Mis9 Norris 
had to know it. So I hid them in the pond, the in- 
spector having obligingly dragged it for me first. 
A couple of keys joined them, but I kept the re- 
volver. Fortunate, wasn't it, Mr. Gillingham? 

"I don't think that there is any more to tell you. 


This is a long letter, but then it is the last which. I 
shall write. There was a time when I hoped that 
there might be a happy future for me, not at the 
Red House, not alone. Perhaps it was never more 
than an idle day-dream, for I am no more worthy 
of her than Mark was. But I could have made her 
h a PPy> Mr. Gillingham. God, how I would have 
worked to make her happy! But now that is im- 
possible. To offer her the hand of a murderer would 
be as bad as to offer the hand of a drunkard. And 
Mark died for that I saw her this morning. She 
was very sweet It is a difficult world to under- 

"Well, well, we are all gone now — the Abletts and 
the Cayleys. I wonder what old Grandfather Cay- 
ley thinks of it all. Perhaps it is as well that we 
have died out Not that there was anything wrong 
with Sarah — except her temper. And she had the 
Ablett nose — you can't do much with that I'm glad 
she left no children. 

"Good-bye, Mr. Gillingham. I'm sorry that your 
stay with us was not of a pleasanter nature, but you 
understand the difficulties in which I was placed. 
Don't let Bill think too badly of me. He is a good 
fellow ; look after him. He will be surprised. The 
young are always surprised. And thank you for 
letting me end my own way. I expect you did sym- 
pathize a little, you know. We might have been 
friends in another world — you and I, and I and 
she. Tell her what you like. Everything or noth- 


ing. Ton will know what is best Good-bye, Mr. % 


"Matthbw Catlet. 

"I am lonely to-night without Mark. That's 
fuany, isn't it!" 



GOOD LORD I" said Bill, as he put down the 
"I thought you'd say that," murmured Antony. 
"Tony, do you mean to say that you knew all 

"I guessed some of it I didn't quite know all of 
it, of course." 

"Good Lord!" said Bill again, and returned t© 
the letter. In a moment he was looking up again. 
"What did you write to him ? Was that last night % 
After I'd gone into Stanton?" 

"What did you say? That you'd discovered that 
Mark was Robert?" 

"Yes. At least I said that this morning I should 
probably telegraph to Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole 

Street, and ask him to " 

Bill burst in eagerly oh the top of the sentence. 

"Yes, bow, what was all that about? You were 

so damn Sherlocky yesterday all of a sudden. We'd 

been doing the thing together all the time, and you'd 

been telling me everything, and then suddenly you 


become very mysterious and private and talk enig- 
matically — is that the word — about dentists and 
swimming and the Tlough and Horses,' and — well, 
what was it all about? You simply vanished out 
of sight; I didn't know what on earth we were talk- 
ing about." 

Antony laughed and apologized. 
"Sorry, Bill. I felt like that suddenly. Just for 
the last half-hour ; just to end up with. I'll tell you 
everything now. Not that there's anything to tell, 
really. It seems so easy when you know it — so ob- 
vious. About Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole Street. 
Of course he was just to identify the body." 

"But whatever made you think of a dentist for 

"Who could do it better? Could you have done 
it? How could you? You'd never gone bathing 
with Mark; you'd never seen him stripped. He 
didn't swim. Could his doctor do it? Not unless 
he'd had some particular operation, and perhaps not 
then. But his dentist could — at any time, always — 
if he had been to his dentist fairly often. Hence 
Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole Street." 

Bill nodded thoughtfully and went back again to 
the letter. 

"I see. And you told Cayley that you were telo- 
graphing to Cartwright to identify the body?" 

"Yes. And then of course it was all up for him. 
Once we knew that Kobert was Mark we knew every- 


"How did you know V 

Antony got up from the breakfast table and began 
to fill his pipe. 

"I'm not sure that I can say. You know those 
problems in Algebra where you say, 'Let x be the 
answer,' and then you work it out and find what x 
is. Well, that's one way; and another way, which 
they never give you any marks for at school, is to 
guess the answer. Guess the answer to be 4r— does 
that satisfy all the conditions of the problem? No. 
Then try 6 ; and if 6 doesn't either, then what about 
5 ? — and so on. Well, the Inspector and the Coroner 
and all that lot had guessed their answers, and it 
seemed to fit, but you and I knew it didn't really fit ; 
there were several conditions in the problem which 
it didn't fit at all. So we knew that their answer 
was wrong, and we had to think of another — an an- 
ser which explained all the things which were puz- 
zling us. Well, I happened to guess the right one. 
Got a match?" 

Bill handed him a box, and he lit his pipe. 

"Yes, but that doesn't quite do, old boy. Some- 
thing must have put you on to it suddenly. By the 
way, I'll have my matches back, if you don't mind." 

Antony laughed and took them out of his pocket 

"Sorry. . . . Well then, let's see if I can go 
through my own mind again, and tell you how I 
guessed it First of all, the clothes." 


"To Cayley the clothes seemed an enormously im- 


portant due. I didn't quite see why, but I did 
realize that to a man in Cayley's position the small- 
est clue would have an entirely disproportionate 
value. For some reason, then, Cayley attached this 
exaggerated importance to the clothes which Mark 
was wearing on that Tuesday morning ; all the clothes, 
the inside ones as well as the outside ones. I didn't 
know why, but I did feel certain that, in that case, the 
absence of the collar was unintentional. In collecting 
the clothes he had overlooked the collar. Why ?" 

"It was the one in the linen-basket?" 

"Yes. It seemed probable. Why had Cayley put 
it there? The obvious answer was that he hadn't. 
Mark had put it there. I remembered what you told 
me about Mark being finicky, and having lots of 
clothes and so on, and I felt that he was just the 
sort of man who would never wear the same collar 
twice." He paused, and then asked, "Is that right, 
do you think?" 

"Absolutely," said Bill with conviction. 

"Well, I guessed it was. So then I began to see 
an x which would fit just this part of the problem — 
the clothes part I saw Mark changing his clothes; 
I saw him instinctively dropping the collar in the 
linen-basket, just as he had always dropped every 
collar he had ever taken off, but leaving the rest of 
the clothes on a chair in the ordinary way; and I 
saw Cayley collecting all the clothes afterwards — 
all the visible clothes — and not realizing that the 
collar wasn't there." 


"Go on," said Bill eagerly. 

"Well, I felt pretty sure about that, and I wanted 
an explanation of it. Why had Mark changed down 
there instead of in his bedroom? The only answer 
was that the fact of his changing had to be kept 
secret When did he change? The only possible 
time was between lunch (when he would be seen by 
the servants) and the moment of Robert's arrival. 
And when did Cayley collect the clothes in a bundle t 
Again, the only answer was 'Before Robert's arrival.' 
So another x was wanted — to fit those three condi- 

"And the answer was that a murder was intended, 
even before Robert arrived?" 

"Yes. Well now, it couldn't be intended on the 
strength of that letter, unless there was very much 
more behind the letter than we knew. Nor was it 
possible a murder could be intended without any 
more preparation than the changing into a different 
suit in which to escape. The thing was too childish. 
Also, if Robert was to be murdered, why go out of 
the way to announce his existence to you all — even, 
at the cost of some trouble, to Mrs. Norbury ? What 
did it all mean? I didn't know. But I began to 
feel now that Robert was an incident only ; that the 
plot was a plot of Cayley's against Mark — either to 
get him to kill his brother, or to get his brother to 
kill him — and that for some inexplicable reason 
Mark seemed to be lending himself to the plot." He 
was silent for a little, and then said, almost to him- 


self, "I had seen the empty brandy bottles in that 

"You neyer said anything about them," com- 
plained Bill. 

"I only saw them afterwards. I was looking for 
the collar, you remember. They came back to me 
afterwards; I knew how Cayley would feel about 
it . . . Poor devil!" 

"Go on," said Bill. 

"Well, then, we had the inquest, and of course I 
noticed, and I suppose you did too, the curious fact 
that Robert had asked his way at the second lodge 
and not at the first. So I talked to Amos and Par- 
sons. That made it more curious. Amos told me 
that Robert had gone out of his way to speak to 
him; had called to him, in fact. Parsons told me 
that his wife was out in their little garden at the 
first lodge all the afternoon, and was certain that 
Robert had never come past it. He also told me 
that Cayley had put him on to a job on the front 
lawn that afternoon. So I had another guess. Rob- 
ert had used the secret passage — the passage which 
comes out into the park between the first and second 
lodges. Robert, then, had been in the house; it was 
a put-up job between Robert and Cayley. But how 
could Robert be there without Mark knowing? Ob- 
viously, Mark knew too. What did it all mean ?" 

"When was this?" interrupted Bill. "Just after 
the inquest — after you'd seen Amos and Parsons, of 


"Yes. I got tip and left them, and came to look 
for you. I'd got back to the clothes then. Why did 
Mark change his clothes so secretly ? Disguise ? But 
then what about his face? That was much more 
important than clothes. His face, his beard — he'd 
have to shave off his beard — and then — oh, idiot! 
I saw you looking at that poster. Mark acting, Mark 
made-up, Mark disguised. Oh, priceless idiot I 
Mark was Robert. . . . Matches, please." 

Bill passed over the matches again, waited till 
Antony had relit his pipe, and then held out his 
hand for them, just as they were going into the 
other's pocket. 

"Yes," said Bill thoughtfully. "Yes. ... But 
wait a moment. What about the 'Plough and 
Horses' ?" 

Antony looked comically at him. 

"You'll never forgive me, Bill," he said. "You'll 
never come clue-hunting with me again," 

"What do you mean?" 

Antony sighed. 

"It was a fake, Watson. I wanted you out of the 
way. I wanted to be alone. I'd guessed at my x, 
and I wanted to test it — to test it every way, by 
everything we'd discovered. I simply had to be 

alone just then. So " he smiled and added, 

"Well, I knew you wanted a drink." 

"You are a devil," said Bill, staring at him. "And 
your interest when I told you that a woman had been 
staying there — >— >" 


"Well, it was only polite to be interested when 
you'd taken so much trouble." 

"You brute! You — you Sherlock I And then 
you keep trying to steal my matches. Well, go on." 

"That's all. My x fitted." 

"Did you gues3 Miss iNorris and all that 1" 

"Well, not quite. I didn't realize that Cayley 
had worked for it from the beginning; — had put Miss 
iNorris up to frightening Mark. I thought he'd just 
seized the opportunity." 

Bill was silent for a long time. Then, puffing at 
his pipe, he said slowly, "Has Cayley shot himself ?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders. 

"Poor devil," said Bill. "It was decent of you 
to give him a chance. I'm glad you did." 

"I couldn't help liking Cayley in a kind of way, 
you know." 

"He's a clever devil. If you hadn't turned up 
just when you did, he would never have been found 

"I wonder. It was ingenious, but if s often the 
ingenious thing which gets found out. The awkward 
thing from Cayley's point of view was that, though 
Mark was missing, neither he nor his body could ever 
be found. Well, that doesn't often happen with a 
missing man. He generally gets discovered in the 
end; a professional criminal, perhaps not — but an 
amateur like Mark ! He might have kept the secret 
of how he killed Mark, but I think it would have 
become obvious sooner or later that he had killed 


"Yes, there's something in that . . . Oh, just tell 
me one thing. Why did Mark tell Misa "Norbury 
about his imaginary brother?" 

"That's puzzled me rather, too. It may be that 
he was just doing the Othello business — painting 
himself black all over. I mean he may have been 
bo full of his appearance as Robert that he had al- 
most got to believe in Robert, and had to tell every- 
body. More likely, though, he felt that, having told 
all of you at the house, he had better tell Mrs. Nor- 
bury, in case she met one of you; in which case, 
if you mentioned the approaching arrival of Robert, 
she might say, 'Oh, I'm certain he has no brother; 
he would have told me if he had,' and so spoil his 
joke. Possibly, too, Cayley put him on to it; Cay- 
ley obviously wanted as many people as possible to 
know about Robert." 

"Are you going to tell the police?" 

"Tes, I suppose they'll have to know. Cayley 
may have left another confession. I hope he won't 
give me away ; you see, I've been a sort of accessory 
since yesterday evening. And I must go and sea 
Miss Norbury." 

"I asked," explained Bill, "because I was won- 
dering what I should say to — to Betty. Miss Calla- 
dine. You see, she's bound to ask." 

"Perhaps you won't see her again for a long time," 
said Antony sadly. 

"As a matter of fact, I happen to know that she 
will be at the Barringtons. And I go up there to- 


"Well, you had better tell her. You're obviously 
longing to. Only don't let her say anything for a 
day or two. I'll write to you." 


Antony knocked the ashes out of his pipe and got 

"The Barringtons," he said. "Large party?" 

"Fairly, I think." 

Antony smiled at his friend. 

"Yes. Well, if any of them should happen to be 
murdered, you might send for me. I'm just getting 
into the swing of it" 

% '1